January 9, 2014 — The Supreme Court on Wednesday announced it will hear oral arguments on March 25 in challenges filed against the federal contraceptive coverage rules by for-profit corporations, The Hill's "RegWatch" reports (Goad, "RegWatch," The Hill, 1/8).
The rules, which are being implemented under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), require most for-profit, private businesses to offer contraceptive coverage in their employer-sponsored health plans. The companies argue that the requirement goes against their owners' personal religious beliefs and violates the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (PL 103-141), which "protects a person's exercise of religion."
The high court also will consider whether the First Amendment's free exercise clause may apply to for-profit businesses (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/26/13).
According to the court schedule, two challenges -- one by arts-and-crafts retail chain Hobby Lobby and another by cabinet maker Conestoga Wood Specialties -- will be consolidated, with one hour for arguments (Attias, CQ HealthBeat, 1/8).