Editor’s note. The following includes information sent out in a release by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Last month the Obama Administration asked the United States Supreme Court to take up the case of Hobby Lobby, a chain of more than 500 arts and crafts stores. Today Hobby Lobby asked the court to review the case as well.
Back in July, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton granted a preliminary injunction against the HHS mandate which force employers to purchase health insurance for their employees that includes coverage for items and procedures to which they have moral or religious objections.
Subsequently the full 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, which employs more than 13,000 full-time workers.
However, since then courts in other parts of the country have ruled differently. Such conflicting circuit court decisions often are resolved by the High Court.
The Administration’s position is that corporations, like Hobby Lobby (but many other challenger as well), cannot claim a religious exemption to this part of the healthcare law. (As David Savage of the Los Angeles Times has explained, the cases “involving corporate employers are separate from suits involving schools and hospitals that have religious affiliations.”)
On Monday Hobby Lobby asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review its case and decide whether the Green family will be required to provide and pay for the coverage it finds morally and religiously objectionable.
“Hobby Lobby’s case raises important questions about who can enjoy religious freedom,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead lawyer for Hobby Lobby. “Right now, some courts recognize the rights of business owners like the Green family, and others do not. Religious freedom is too important to be left to chance. The Supreme Court should take this case and protect religious freedom for the Green family and Hobby Lobby.”
The Court will consider the government’s petition and Hobby Lobby’s response next month, Duncan explained. If the petition is granted, the case would be argued and decided before the end of the Court’s term in June.
There are two primary reasons the High Court is likely take the case. “The justices rarely turns down requests from the White House,” according to POLITICO’s Jennifer Haberkorn. “Plus, three circuits [the third, sixth, and tenth] have now decided this issue in different ways, creating a circuit split.”