February 11, 2014 — Arts-and-crafts retail chain Hobby Lobby on Monday urged the Supreme Court to exempt it from the federal contraceptive coverage rules on religious grounds, CNN's "PoliticalTicker" reports (Davidsen, "PoliticalTicker," CNN, 2/10).
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. In the case before the high court, Hobby Lobby and cabinet maker Conestoga Wood Specialties 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.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case on March 25 (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/13).
In a brief filed on Monday, Hobby Lobby's lead attorney, Kyle Duncan of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, argued that the business should be exempt from the contraceptive coverage rules because they violate the owners' religious beliefs.
According to "PoliticalTicker," Hobby Lobby's owners object to certain contraceptives, such as emergency contraception, that they believe act as abortifacients. Hobby Lobby said it would face fines of about $1.3 million per day for not including contraceptive coverage in its employee health plan.
"No one should be forced to give up their constitutionally protected civil rights just to go into business," Duncan said. He added, "The filing demonstrates in no uncertain terms that the government's efforts to strip this family business of its religious rights represent a gross violation of the [RFRA] and the First Amendment ("PoliticalTicker," CNN, 2/10).