The arguments with Obamacare are heating up more and more in the United States. As of now, Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts store, seems to be in the center of the crossfire.
Previously, Hobby Lobby stood against Obamacare because of its statutes for mandatory contraceptive coverage to be provided in healthcare. For Hobby Lobby, this is a clear violation against the owner’s faith claiming that corporations can have religious faith and that providing employees with contraceptive coverage is a violation of “religious liberty” under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). However, this is now being challenged in Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a case which is now in the Supreme Court.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the three women serving as justices, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, jumped on Hobby Lobby attorney, Paul Clement, even before he had a chance to speak. Most of the questions centered around the consequences of corporate religion. Sotomayor asked if corporations claim a religious objection to providing contraceptive coverage, couldn’t they also object to vaccinations or blood transfusions? Kagan then assisted by noting there are number of medical treatments considered illegitimate under certain religious doctrine. Then she asked if corporations should follow that as well.
Kagan also attacked Clement on Hobby Lobby’s claim under RFRA, an “uncontroversial law” that Hobby Lobby is using to disrupt the entire U.S. code. Finally, Ginsburg noted that the RFRA passed, in 1993, with overwhelming bipartisan support, being measured to endow corporations with religious rights “seems strange”.
The other justices were mixed in their views, mostly believing the issue to be centered on abortion more so than contraceptives, especially from Justice Anthony Kennedy. Still, there is just so much about the case that is misrepresented to the general public. As of now, most have a set view of what Hobby Lobby is going to court for. The five major perceptions, as reported by The Federalist, people have about Hobby Lobby are:
- The owners of Hobby Lobby are anti-contraception.
- The owners of Hobby Lobby are asking for some sort of special treatment.
- The only time David Green’s religious values inform his business decisions relates to women’s reproduction.
- The Greens want to get between a woman and her doctor.
- Hobby Lobby is asking for a departure from established law.
However, these perceptions have already been explained. In association with the above, here is what Hobby Lobby is really doing.
- Hobby Lobby already covers sixteen of the twenty forms of preventative contraceptives approved by the FDA. It’s the other four they have issues with.
- The CEO of Hobby Lobby, David Green, is tasked with making moral decisions on behalf of his company. Also, his company is privately owned.
- David Green’s company explicitly states they conduct its affairs according to Bible principles. This includes no work on the Sabbath. Ergo, Hobby Lobby is closed on Sundays.
- Please see the solution to perception #1.
- Hobby Lobby’s case is utilized through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
In conclusion, this case may be a question of the rights of employees versus the right of employers. Kennedy may be right in stating this is more so an issue of abortion. If that is truly the real case, an outcome to Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. is far from settled.