Hobby Lobby and other employers do not need to pay for contraceptive procedures against their religious convictions.
The 5-4 decision based on ideological lines ended the high court’s term with a legal and political setback for a controversial part of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law.
Wall Street Journal:
WASHINGTON—Monday’s Supreme Courtdecision enabling some private companies to opt out of the federal health law’s contraception coverage requirements ignitedpartisan dueling over not just the 2010 health-care law but over a 1993 religious-freedom law cited in the decision.
The high court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case refocused attention on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that passed Congress overwhelmingly in 1993, with the support of some lawmakers still serving in both the House and Senate. The statute requires federal laws to accommodate individuals’ religious beliefs unless there is a compelling interest at stake that can’t be attained through other means.
While Republicans on Monday triumphantly pointed to the law’s role in the decision, Democrats said they hadn’t anticipated the law would be so broadly expanded.
In the case, the owners of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., an Oklahoma City arts-and-crafts chain owned by an evangelical Christian family, and other companies challenged the Affordable Care Act by saying their religions consider certain birth-control methods immoral and therefore they weren’t obliged to help provide them under the religious-freedom law.
The Supreme Court’s majority agreed, citing the religious-freedom law in its decision.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the lead Republican sponsor of the religious-freedom law when it passed the Senate in a 97-3 vote, said Monday’s decision affirmed Congress’ decision to pass the law in the first place.
“As the Supreme Court rightfully said today, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act could not have been clearer in saying religious liberty of all Americans must be equally protected and not unnecessarily burdened,” Mr. Hatch said in a statement. “That’s why RFRA passed Congress overwhelmingly more than 20 years ago.”
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