Hatch applauds Supreme Court; Hobby Lobby case on religious freedom

SALT LAKE CITY – Sen. Orrin Hatch, current member and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today applauded the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius case. Hobby Lobby Stores, a Christian-owned chain of retail stores, sued the Department of Health and Human Services, arguing that the HHS rule mandating that women’s preventative services be covered by all health insurance plans – as a requirement of the President’s health law – is a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Hatch was an author of RFRA, and in February led a group of Members of Congress in filing an amicus brief in support of Hobby Lobby when the case was before U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit (that brief can be found here).

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of Religious Freedom Restoration Act becoming law, and over the last 20 years the law has stood for the principle that religious freedom is more important that any particular political priority,” Hatch said. “I’ve long argued that Obamacare violated the religious liberty protections Americans hold dear, regardless of political party. The simple fact is that one of our country’s founding principles was religious freedom for all, and I hope the justices on the court understand that this case will determine how important religious freedom is in American today and whether our country still stands for that guiding principle.

Under the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, employers who fail to provide this coverage must pay $100 per day per employee, which Hobby Lobby argued would cost the company approximately $1.3 million per day (about $475 million per year). One of the issues the Supreme Court will decide is whether this penalty amounts to a “substantial burden” under RFRA. The 10th Circuit ruled 5-3 in favor of Hobby Lobby that for-profit companies can be “persons” exercising religion within the meaning of RFRA and that the choice of violating religious belief or paying heavy fines is a substantial burden.

The case will be decided by the Supreme Court in the current term goes through the end of June 2014.

Submitted by the office of Sen. Orrin Hatch

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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4 Comments

  • Caleb November 26, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    What about a persons freedom to live there own life with protection from the beliefs of someone else’s religious beliefs; including the freedom to be employed and free from the tyranny of ones employers religious/personal interpretations and beliefs of morality and right or wrong. These hobby lobby owners refuse to respect and or recognize their own employees rights to freedom of religion and/or personal beliefs. Hobby lobby itself, through its owners actions, are denying their employees the very same rights they falsely ( albeit through ignorance and arrogance) claim are being infringed. KEEP Freedom of religion by honoring others rights to the same.

  • Dana November 27, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    What about those employees purchasing 1) their own insurance and 2) their own birth control?
    Their rights are not being denied, NOTHING is preventing them from providing for themselves..

  • Malware November 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    It looks like Caleb is totally ignorant of Hobby Lobby employment practices.

  • Larry Linn November 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    What if the owners of the company are Orthodox Jews? For obvious reasons, the Talmud adds to the biblical regulations a prohibition against consuming poisoned animals. Similarly, the Yoreh De’ah prohibits the drinking of water, if the water had been left overnight and uncovered in an area where there might be serpents, on the suspicion of snakes, this prohibition does not apply (tosafos, beitzah 6a). Conversely, if a business entity is controlled by Muslims, are they entitled to impose the religious customs upon Christian, Jews, and other non-Muslim employees?

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