The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that for-profit employers with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under Obamacare.
The decision could open the door to other employers seeking to withhold coverage for other medical procedures at odds with firm religious beliefs.
The Court ruled that a closely-held company can be exempt from the contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The Hobby Lobby suit was a landmark case about whether for-profit corporations are entitled to religious-based exceptions from neutral laws.
The challenge was brought by the Southern Baptist owners of Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts chain, and the Mennonite owners of Conestoga Wood, a cabinet maker. Both sued for relief from a mandate under the Affordable Care Act that profit-making businesses include emergency contraceptives for female employees in their insurance plans at no extra cost. They said the requirement to cover contraceptives like Plan B and Ella violates their religious liberty.
The suits were about whether the Obamacare birth control mandate passes muster under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The 21-year-old statute says laws that substantially burden a person's exercise of religion must be narrowly tailored to meet a compelling governmental interest.
The Obama administration argued that the mandate does not violate anybody's religious liberty, and that it merely ensures that female employees are treated equally regardless of the religious views of their bosses.
Conservatives cheered the ruling, while liberals were dismayed.
And religious liberty trumps. Thanks to all in the @HobbyLobbyTeam- Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) June 30, 2014
I feel sick.- Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) June 30, 2014
Obama loses his claim that for-profit corporations have no First Amendment rights! Still unclear re: non-closely-held corps #HobbyLobby- Ernest Istook (@Istook) June 30, 2014