Sebelius: Hobby Lobby case about more than ObamaCare

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Friday that if the Supreme Court rules against ObamaCare’s contraception mandate next week, it will have “huge” implications that go far beyond the healthcare law.

Sebelius said a ruling against the law could allow employers maximum discretion to avoid following laws they say go against their religious beliefs.

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“I do think this issue is far beyond contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act,” she said.

“This really is about whether or not employers based on religious views can pick and choose which federal laws to follow and not follow.” 

Sebelius was speaking at an Aspen Institute conference.

The Supreme Court is expected to announce a ruling Monday in the so-called Hobby Lobby case. The arts and craft retail giant has challenged the mandate that it provide contraception as part of its health insurance coverage to employees, arguing that doing so goes against the business owners’ religious beliefs.

Sebelius argued that if Hobby Lobby wins, employers could decide not to pay taxes if they disagreed with a war the U.S. was waging.

“The balance between the public square and the private square in terms of religion has been a fundamental part of our democracy for a long time,” she added. “This would blur the lines, I think, in a very serious way.”

Sebelius said she didn’t have a prediction for which way the court will rule but noted many of the most conservative justices have long upheld the principle of maintaining a balance when it comes to religious freedom in the public and private square.