In a stunning upset to President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that employers must be forced to pay for contraceptives, regardless of religious and moral beliefs:
The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.
The justices’ 5-4 decision Monday is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.
Contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under the health care law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010 and the Supreme Court upheld two years later.
The case involved Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp, two companies which provide competitive wages and good health care coverage for employees. But they didn’t want to be forced to cover the types of contraceptives which destroy life.
America, a nation with a rich historical appreciation for religious convictions, always protected the rights of believers to not act against their moral beliefs… That is, until Barack Obama decided that contraceptives are a “right” guaranteed by the Constitution.
Justice Alito authored the majority opinion, and Justice Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion. Justice Ginsburg wrote the dissent, joined by Justices Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan.
Interestingly enough, this decision doesn’t prevent anyone from buying cheap, generic contraceptives from Walmart or Target. This is simply an affirmation that employer’s religious beliefs still have protection under the law, and free contraceptives are not a right.
This is the strongest challenge to Obamacare since 2012.
#SCOTUS: Victory in Hobby Lobby. This is a great day for liberty.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) June 30, 2014
Reminder: conservatives celebrating SCOTUS today should recall that it upheld Obamacare. Freedom should never be in the hands of 9 robes.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 30, 2014
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 30, 2014
SCOTUS rules in favor of religious freedom in Hobby Lobby case. @BarackObama can't force Americans to act contrary to religious beliefs.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) June 30, 2014
And here are some immediate reactions from legal experts:
Carrie Severino, chief counsel to the Judicial Crisis Network, on Hobby Lobby: “The Supreme Court today upheld the liberty at the heart of the Constitution: the right to religious freedom. The Court rightly concluded that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects religious business owners just as much as it protects their employees. RFRA guarantees not just a right of religious worship or speech, but religious exercise. Today the Supreme Court reaffirmed religious freedoms that literally centuries of Americans have enjoyed from even before the founding of this country. If the government thinks free contraception is so important, they should pay for it themselves instead of forcing employers to do it for them. Because the left vigorously opposed the result in this case, however, we should be asking whether the next president will appoint justices who share the left’s narrow political views about religious exercise, or whether he will faithfully interpret the law and the Constitution.”
Joshua Hawley, of counsel to the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty and professor of law at the University of Missouri on Hobby Lobby: “Today’s decision is an enormous victory for personal freedom in America. This decision confirms that people of conscience are welcome in business and that all Americans have the right to follow their moral and social convictions in every walk of life. The right to form one’s own beliefs and live them out peaceably is at the heart of constitutional liberty. That liberty has won out today.”