Hobby Lobby Wins

Ken AshfordSupreme Court, Women's IssuesLeave a Comment

In a not-very-suprising 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court decided in favor of Hobby Lobby in the recent case involving religious freedom and corporations.  As a result of the holding,  business owners with religious objections to birth control may defy federal rules requiring most employers to include contraceptive care in their health plans.  This is in direct contravention of what the Supreme Court held in its 1982 United States v. Lee decision, “[w]hen followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.” 

The opinion is here.

Fortunately (and thankfully), the Supreme Court was willing to put limits on this:  this holding appears limited to closely held corporations such as Hobby Lobby, which is operated by a single wealthy family.  Keep this in mind when you read commentary about this case — the Court did not give religious freedom to, say, Apple and Amazon.  Just a very narrow set of corporatoins (which would, I think, include Walmart).

Still, the opinion is wrongly decided, and the best explanation why is here.