Today, in cold and snowy Washington, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius case addressing the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of business owners to operate their family companies without violating their deeply held religious convictions.
Friday will decide if they take up the lawsuit.
The Becket Fund is representing Hobby Lobby.
In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, 84 amicus briefs were filed – among the largest amicus efforts ever. By an almost three- to-one margin, these briefs favored Hobby Lobby, demonstrating the breadth and depth of support for the Green family, Hobby Lobby, and religious freedom. Not only are the numbers large, the briefs include powerful arguments from leading scholars, top Supreme Court practitioners, and prominent religious leaders, forming a diverse coalition in support of Hobby Lobby before the Supreme Court.
Amicus briefs (friend-of-the-court briefs) are filed by groups, individuals, and scholars who are not part of the case before the Supreme Court, but who care about how the Court rules.
The Wall Street Journal has a live blog of the Contraception cases before the Supreme Court.
OUTSIDE THE COURT III: While we’re talking about messaging: Americans United for Life coined the #TEAMLIFE hashtag we mentioned earlier, and that’s just one of the Twitter plugs being offered on that side of the plaza. Meanwhile, UltraViolet, a new-on-the-scene women’s rights group, is using a variation on a tried-and-tested abortion rights message designed to appeal to libertarian-leaning voters: “No bosses in my bedroom.”
OUTSIDE THE COURT II: The women’s rights groups are carving up one end of the color spectrum (Planned Parenthood Federation of America activists are wearing pink hats, Naral Pro-Choice supporters are using purple.) Some of the religious liberty campaigners are using green for the “Religious freedom is everyone’s business” signs but there’s also a competing “Repeal the HHS mandate” placard doing the rounds in red (and a conservative group, Women Speak for Themselves, is trying to take back pink in their placards.)
OUTSIDE THE COURT: A banner case like Hobby Lobby brings out an array of advocacy groups, and presents a tough marketing problem: How do you distinguish your organization from your allies, let alone your opponents?
UPDATE via Hot Air:
Ed Whelan hears second-hand that Justice Breyer may be a vote to overturn the mandate, and perhaps a 6-3 victory for Hobby Lobby is in the offing. We’ll check back when Whelan reads through the transcripts.
The Conversation: Some of the The Zaniest Pro- HHS Mandate Signs Outside SCOTUS Today
The Foundry: Meet the Real People Hurt by Obamacare’s Mandates And Disregard for Religious Liberty [PHOTOS]
Gabe at AoSHQ: Reviewing The Legal Arguments In The Contraception Mandate Cases:
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the Supreme Court will today hear the contraception mandate cases, popularly styled Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. Politically, these cases hit a bunch of fraught notes on sex, power, religion, and free speech. I covered that, with emphasis on the lies leftists will tell, yesterday. Legally, however, these cases also raise important questions, and I want to cover that today.
As I’ve written before, these cases won’t bring down Obamacare. But they will determine how government will interact with religious individuals for decades to come. Here are the most important legal questions the Supreme Court will have to consider today.
I will conclude with a prediction based only on their briefs (and this comes before argument): the businesses will win. There is a key difference between a political argument and a legal argument that the government seems to have forgotten here. To win in politics, you take the other side’s worst argument and hammer that. To win in a legal argument, however, you must take the other side’s best argument and tear it down. Here, the government’s brief doesn’t directly address the businesses’ arguments, preferring instead to take a rambling trip through concepts like piercing the corporate veil, “attenuation,” and ERISA lawsuits. By contrast, the businesses focus directly on the question at issue: does RFRA protect them. It’s a telling difference.
Cruz Press Release: Sen. Cruz supports Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties:
SCOTUS should defend the First Amendment
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today released the following statement reiterating his support for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties as oral arguments for Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius begin tomorrow at the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court has the opportunity to affirm our fundamental right to religious freedom,” Sen. Cruz said. “Time and time again, President Obama has granted exemptions to the politically powerful, yet refuses to grant the same leniency to those for whom Obamacare’s contraception mandate infringes on their beliefs. I urge the court to unequivocally stand up for the First Amendment rights of all Americans and stop the government from forcing employers with valid religious objections to violate their faith.”
Last January, Sen. Cruz, joined by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and David Vitter, R-La., filed an amicus brief defending Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties against Obamacare’s contraception mandate.
In the amicus brief, Sen. Cruz details several of the most egregious examples of the Administration selectively enforcing and modifying provisions of Obamacare, which include making the unilateral decision to delay health insurance requirements; capping out-of-pocket costs; expanding and delaying the employer mandate penalty; and granting health subsidies to members of Congress and congressional staff.