Legal Challenges

Hobby Lobby petitions Supreme Court to take up birth control mandate case

Hobby Lobby on Monday petitioned the Supreme Court to take up its case challenging the ObamaCare birth control mandate.

{mosads}In a court filing provided by Hobby Lobby’s lawyers, the company argued that “the case is an excellent vehicle for resolving an exceptionally important question on which the circuits are split.”

The birth control mandate appeared headed for the Supreme Court before the filing, but the petition could ratchet up pressure on the high court to take up the case.

“Hobby Lobby’s case raises important questions about who can enjoy religious freedom,” Kyle Duncan, the lead lawyer for Hobby Lobby, said in a statement. “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.”

Hobby Lobby won a victory in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year, provoking the U.S. government to petition the Supreme Court to review the case.

Hobby Lobby’s filing on Monday creates the unusual situation of a winning plaintiff filing a petition “agreeing with the [defendant] that the Supreme Court should hear the appeal,” according to The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

The circuit courts have been split on the mandate, which requires most employers to cover a range of birth control methods for their workers.

Opponents of the policy argue that it violates the religious freedom of business owners that object to contraception. Hobby Lobby is a Christian-owned chain that argues it shouldn’t be required to include drugs they object to in their employee health plans. 

The Obama administration’s position is that that a secular company shouldn’t be able to impose the owners’ religious beliefs on its employees. The mandate was created to ensure that most working women have access to free birth control through their employer-provided healthcare plans.

Churches and houses of worship are exempt, and employees of religiously affiliated institutions will be able to obtain birth control directly from their insurance companies. The administration has not sought an accommodation or exemption for secular, for-profit companies with religious owners.

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