Loading
Hobby Lobby granted full court hearing for mandate case
By Adelaide Darling
Hobby Lobby. Courtesy of the Becket Fund.
Hobby Lobby. Courtesy of the Becket Fund.

.- Christian-owned craft giant Hobby Lobby will be able to make its appeal against the federal contraception mandate before a full federal panel of nine judges, rather than the usual three.

“Full court review is reserved only for the most serious legal questions,” explained Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in a press release on March 29. The Becket Fund is representing the owners of Hobby Lobby in court. 

Duncan said that the decision to grant a full nine-judge hearing speaks to the gravity of the issue.

“This case asks whether the First Amendment protects everyone’s right to religious freedom, or whether it leaves out religious business owners like the Greens,” he explained.

As its religious freedom case comes before a federal court, Hobby Lobby had petitioned for an “en banc” hearing, or an appeals hearing before the full bench of nine judges.

“We are grateful that the court granted Hobby Lobby’s petition,” said Duncan.

The arts and crafts retailer is one of well over 100 plaintiffs challenging a mandate issued by the Department of Health and Human Services to require employers to provide contraception, some abortion-inducing drugs and sterilizations.

A narrow religious exemption included in the mandate does not apply to for-profit businesses run by religious individuals.

Since its founding in an Oklahoma City garage in 1972, Hobby Lobby has grown to more than 500 stores in 40 states. Its founder and CEO, David Green, and his family describe themselves as committed Christians who strive to serve God through all their endeavors, including their business.

The Greens donate large amounts of money to charitable causes, maintain a minimum wage that is significantly higher than that required by federal law and close their stores on Sundays, sacrificing profit to allow their employees to worship and rest.

As Christians, the Greens also object to funding or facilitating any drugs that can cause abortions, including the “morning after” and “week after” pills. Their lawsuit argues that their First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom are being violated through the mandate’s demands.

Both a federal district court and an appeals court initially denied an injunction that would have blocked the mandate from going into effect while Hobby Lobby argued its case.

The courts said that although the Greens express their sincere religious beliefs through their company, they did not feel that those beliefs were directly burdened by the mandate’s requirements.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied the company’s emergency injunction appeal in December, saying that the case did not meet the extreme standard necessary for the Supreme Court to intervene.

Without an injunction, Hobby Lobby was faced with up to $1.3 million per day in fines for violating the mandate, beginning Jan. 1 of this year.

In January, however, the retailer released a statement saying it had found a way delay the crippling fines by “shift(ing) the plan year for its employee health insurance, thus postponing the effective date of the mandate for several months.”

The company has said that despite the threat of staggering fines, it will continue fighting to exercise its owners’ religious beliefs in its policies.

In addition to granting a full panel of judges for the appeal, the 10th Circuit also said in its March 29th response to Hobby Lobby’s plea that it will “grant the pending request to expedite oral argument,” thereby accelerating the appeals process.

The court said that a date for the appeals case will be set soon. Arguments are expected to take place in the spring.

Tags: Contraception mandate, Religious freedom


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

A state without territory elects new government
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage
Jul
24

Liturgical Calendar

July 24, 2014

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:10-17

Gospel
Date
07/24/14
07/23/14
07/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 2: 1-3, 7-8, 12-13
Gospel:: Mt 13: 10-17

Saint of the Day

St. Charbel Makhlouf »

Saint
Date
07/23/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:10-17

Homily
Date
07/24/14
07/23/14
07/21/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: