Updates on cases, laws, and other topics of interest to local governments

Subscribe by Email

Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe in a Reader

Follow Municipal Minute on Twitter


Blog comments do not reflect the views or opinions of the Author or Ancel Glink. Some of the content may be considered attorney advertising material under the applicable rules of certain states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please read our full disclaimer

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Supreme Court to Hear Appeal on Controversial Affordable Care Act Provision

In the last six weeks, President Obama has faced an onslaught of challenges to his signature piece of legislation, known as Obamacare, including a broken website and claims that he mislead voters about their ability to keep their existing insurance.  Today, President Obama faces another challenge: the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court announced that it would hear an appeal in the case commonly referred to as Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, brought by Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts chain that has led the fight against this controversial provision. The appeal concerns a provision of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that requires employers with more than fifty employees to provide health plans that cover contraceptives. This issue has divided the lower courts, who now look to the Supreme Court for a resolution.
This suit, which the Supreme Court combined with another suit brought by Conestoga Wood Specialties, claims that the contraceptive mandate violates the plaintiffs’ rights under the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).  RFRA states that the government "shall not substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion," unless doing so furthers a "compelling" interest.  The law was initially enacted to overturn the Supreme Court’s refusal to give religious objectors a constitutional exemption from other statutes.  Although RFRA was previously found unconstitutional as applied to states , it is still applicable to the federal government
Sebelius and Hobby Lobby are far from the only parties with an interest in this issue. Dozens of groups have lined up on both sides, flooding the lower courts with amicus briefs. Among the most vocal opponents have been private, for-profit corporations. Although the regulations exempt "religious employers," like churches, religiously-affiliated universities, and other non-profits, from offering health insurance plans that cover contraceptives, they do not exempt large, for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby.

Oral arguments are expected to be held sometime in the spring, with a decision coming in late June.
Post Authored by Matt DiCianni and Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink 


Post a Comment