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Hobby Lobby Appeals Decision Forcing It to Obey HHS Mandate ($1.3 Million-Per-Day fine)
Life News ^ | November 21, 2012 | Steven Ertelt

Posted on 11/21/2012 2:04:25 PM PST by NYer

Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned and run company, is fighting back against a judge’s decision siding with the Obama administration saying that it has the right to force it to pay for drugs for women that may cause abortions.

The privately held retail chain with more than 500 arts and crafts stores in 41 states filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its HHS mandate. The company says it would face $1.3 million in fines on a daily basis starting in January if it fails to comply with the mandate, which requires religious employers to pay for or refer women for abortion-cause drugs that violate their conscience or religious beliefs.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma and U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton issued a ruling late Monday rejecting Hobby Lobby’s request to block the mandate. Judge Heaton said that the company doesn’t qualify for an exemption because it is not a church or religious group.

“Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion,” the ruling said.

Heaton wrote that “the court is not unsympathetic” to the company’s desire to not pay for abortion-causing drugs but he said the Obamacare law “results in concerns and issues not previously confronted by companies or their owners.”

Today, attorneys for Hobby Lobby informed LifeNews it has appealed to the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals seeking relief from the abortion pill mandate.

The brief reads in part: “[I]n less than six weeks, [the Green family] must either violate their faith by covering abortion-causing drugs, or be exposed to severe penalties—including fines of up to $1.3 million per day, annual penalties of about $26 million and exposure to private suits.”

“The district court accepted that the Green family engages in a religious exercise by refusing to cover abortion-causing drugs in their self-funded health plan. There was thus no question that the Green family engages in ‘religious exercise,’” it adds. “[T]he Supreme Court has long rejected any distinction between “direct” and “indirect” burdens in evaluating whether regulations infringe religious exercise.”

“Every American, including family business owners like the Greens, should be free to make a living without forfeiting their religious beliefs,” said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby. “The Green family needs relief before Jan. 1, and so we have asked the federal appeals court in Denver to issue an injunction against the mandate.”

Duncan said the judge’s decision did not question that the Green family has sincere religious beliefs forbidding them from providing abortion-causing drugs. The court ruled, however, that those beliefs were only “indirectly” burdened by the mandate’s requirement that [Hobby Lobby] provide free coverage for specific, abortion-inducing drugs in [the company’s] self-funded insurance plan.

Duncan previously talked about what the Obama administration told the court:

The administration’s arguments in this case are shocking. Here’s what they are saying: once someone starts a “secular” business, he categorically loses any right to run that business in accordance with his conscience. The business owner simply leaves her First Amendment rights at home when she goes to work at the business she built. Kosher butchers around the country must be shocked to find that they now run “secular” businesses. On this view of the world, even a seller of Bibles is “secular.” Hobby Lobby’s affiliate, Mardel, sells Bibles and other Christian-themed material, but because it makes a profit the government has now declared it “secular.”

The administration’s position here — while astonishing — is actually consistent with its overall view of the place of religion in civil society. After all, this is the administration who argued in the Hosanna-Tabor case last year in the Supreme Court that the religion clauses of the First Amendment offered no special protection to a church’s right to choose its ministers — a position that the Court rejected 9-0. This is the administration which has taken to referring to “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion” — suggesting that religious freedom consists in being free to engage in private rituals and prayers, but not in carrying your religious convictions into public life. And this is the administration who crafted a “religious employer” exemption to the HHS mandate so narrow that a Catholic charity does not qualify for conscience protection if it serves non-Catholic poor people.

As you point out, the administration is trying to justify its rigid stance against religious business owners by saying otherwise they would become a “law unto themselves,” and be able to do all sorts of nasty things to their employees — like force them to attend Bible studies, or fire them if they denied the divinity of Christ. Nonsense. Hobby Lobby isn’t arguing for the right to impose the Greens’ religion on employees, nor for the right to fire employees of different religions. There’s already a federal law that protects employees from religious discrimination and that’s a very good thing. This case is about something entirely different: it’s about stopping the government from coercing religious business owners. The government wants to fine the Greens if they do not violate their own faith by handing out free abortion drugs, and now it’s saying they don’t even have the right to complain in court about it

Duncan said the onerous provisions of the HHS mandate “will hit Hobby Lobby in about two months — on January 1, 2013. At that point, it will face the choice of dropping employee health insurance altogether (and paying about $26 million a year in penalties), or continuing its current plan (which will expose it to about $1.3 million in fines per day). So it is not hard to imagine why the Greens felt they had no choice but to go to court.”

There are now 40 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate, which is a regulation under the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). The Becket Fund led the charge against the unconstitutional HHS mandate, and along with Hobby Lobby represents: Wheaton College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network, and Ave Maria University.

Hobby Lobby is the largest and the biggest non-Catholic-owned business to file a lawsuit against the HHS mandate, focusing sharp criticism on the administration’s regulation that forces all companies, regardless of religious conviction, to cover abortion-inducing drugs. It has faced a small boycott from liberals upset that it would challenge the mandate in court.

The Obama admin says there is an exemption in the statute but Duncan says that is not acceptable.

“The safe harbor’s protection is illusory,” said Duncan. “Even though the government won’t make religious colleges pay crippling fines this year, private lawsuits can still be brought, schools are at a competitive disadvantage for hiring and retaining faculty, and employees face the specter of battling chronic conditions without access to affordable care. This mandate puts these religious schools in an impossible position.”

Last week, a federal court stopped enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against a Bible publisher which filed a lawsuit against it — the third such victory.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: christian; hhs; hobbylobby; mandate

1 posted on 11/21/2012 2:04:38 PM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Hobby Lobby CEO David Green and his wife Barbara
2 posted on 11/21/2012 2:06:10 PM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer

Tyndale got a pass why can’t Hobby-Lobby?


3 posted on 11/21/2012 2:08:27 PM PST by madison10
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To: NYer

We used to have an Establishment Clause in the first amendment. We also used to be a free country. The communists in Washington are going to have their way with the Constitution for the next four years...mostly thourgh executive fiat.

Many are going Galt. Let’s see what happens when the economy retanks around next June...see if the msm still defends Obama...and continues to attack Christians.

There’s a political and economic payback coming.


4 posted on 11/21/2012 2:09:49 PM PST by kjo (+)
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To: NYer

Gov. Mary Fallin should step in to protect Hobby Lobby, nullifying the fines. Let’s see how the court enforces them.


5 posted on 11/21/2012 2:11:19 PM PST by montag813
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To: kjo
when the economy retanks around next June

Do you think it will take that long? I expect it to go tango uniform before that.

/johnny

6 posted on 11/21/2012 2:11:48 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: NYer

What would it cost the Government, if Hobby Lobby closed its doors and all its employees went on Welfare?


7 posted on 11/21/2012 2:13:58 PM PST by Paisan
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To: NYer

Let’s face it, folks; we’ve become fascist Germany (I would have said fascist Italy or fascist Spain, but neither of those two countries so blatantly attacked Christianity as fascist Germany did).


8 posted on 11/21/2012 2:21:19 PM PST by ought-six ( Multiculturalism is national suicide, and political correctness is the cyanide capsule.)
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To: NYer
Can't they just drop health care for their employees? That's what I would do. Maybe give the employees a bump in salary equal to the cost of health care, and turn them loose. I'm sure they want to do the right thing, but we're dealing with a fascist state, so do what you have to do.
9 posted on 11/21/2012 2:21:29 PM PST by throwback (The object of opening the mind, is as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.)
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To: NYer

In America today, they can either convert to Islam
OR run for Congress (and win) to be free of ObamaCARE
and death panels.


10 posted on 11/21/2012 2:23:03 PM PST by Diogenesis (Vi veri veniversum vivus vici)
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To: throwback

If I read snoops correctly, HL is not against obamacare, just the plan B drugs. This is putting a lot of peoples’ employment at risk for a socialist lite stance.


11 posted on 11/21/2012 2:23:58 PM PST by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: NYer

It is time for the Greens to notify their employees that, effective 1 January, 2013, their hours will be reduced to fewer than 30 hours per week, and that under no circumstances will any employee, manager, or other person associated with Hobby Lobby be permitted to work 30 or more hours in any week. In the face of evil, good people must take a stand.


12 posted on 11/21/2012 2:40:56 PM PST by Pollster1 (Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: NYer
This is the administration which has taken to referring to “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion” — suggesting that religious freedom consists in being free to engage in private rituals and prayers, but not in carrying your religious convictions into public life.

Key to the regime's war on religion. Also a revocation of the "free exercise" clause of the First Amendment.

13 posted on 11/21/2012 2:41:32 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: kjo
We used to have an Establishment Clause in the first amendment. We also used to be a free country. The communists in Washington are going to have their way with the Constitution for the next four years...mostly thourgh executive fiat.

The administration’s arguments in this case are shocking. Here’s what they are saying: once someone starts a “secular” business, he categorically loses any right to run that business in accordance with his conscience. The business owner simply leaves her First Amendment rights at home when she goes to work at the business she built. Kosher butchers around the country must be shocked to find that they now run “secular” businesses. On this view of the world, even a seller of Bibles is “secular.” Hobby Lobby’s affiliate, Mardel, sells Bibles and other Christian-themed material, but because it makes a profit the government has now declared it “secular.”

Judge: Obama Admin Can Force Hobby Lobby to Obey HHS Mandate
14 posted on 11/21/2012 2:57:57 PM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: throwback
Can't they just drop health care for their employees? That's what I would do. Maybe give the employees a bump in salary equal to the cost of health care, and turn them loose. I'm sure they want to do the right thing, but we're dealing with a fascist state, so do what you have to do.

I think that's the whole idea of Obamacare. They want private employer-paid plans to disappear to make way for government-paid medicine. Then full-scale socialism.

15 posted on 11/21/2012 3:03:40 PM PST by Menehune56 ("Let them hate so long as they fear" (Oderint Dum Metuant), Lucius Accius (170 BC - 86 BC))
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To: NYer

Sounds similar to how employees are treated by employers when it comes to 1st amendment issues... interesting tact for the gov to take.


16 posted on 11/21/2012 3:09:44 PM PST by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: NYer

Is it wrong that I want Hobby Lobby to shrug and close its doors forever?


17 posted on 11/21/2012 3:11:51 PM PST by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: Pollster1

That is what me and my employer have done.


18 posted on 11/21/2012 3:16:01 PM PST by JCBreckenridge (They may take our lives... but they'll never take our FREEDOM!)
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To: NYer

According to the Supreme Court a corporation is a person. That person is entitled to free speech rights which nullifies much of campaign finance reform. But apparently some first amendment rights only cover some persons.


19 posted on 11/21/2012 3:41:09 PM PST by Qout
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To: Qout

Close the doors! The employees can go live at the Hospital
with ACA, all meals paid and a bed, and if it just so happens they need medical care they are already there no need for ambulances! Your local Hospital can become the new Motel 6.


20 posted on 11/21/2012 4:03:42 PM PST by Conserev1
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To: NYer

I would just shut it.


21 posted on 11/21/2012 4:08:45 PM PST by elkfersupper ( Member of the Original Defiant Class)
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To: NYer

Ridiculous, they will probably follow other companies by cutting employees hours.
Hobby Lobby just opened a store near us in NJ, and after living with so much pc garbage for years, we were happily surprised to see they call a Christmas tree a Christmas tree in the store!


22 posted on 11/21/2012 4:21:37 PM PST by jughandle
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To: NYer

Selective Preferencing, another violation of the Civil Rights Acts, right on down to all their current Exempt Ones.

RICO operation, Extortion.


23 posted on 11/21/2012 4:34:49 PM PST by Varsity Flight (Extortion-Care is the Government Work-Camp: Arbeitsziehungslager)
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To: goodwithagun
Is it wrong that I want Hobby Lobby to shrug and close its doors forever?

That's the wrong approach. Putting eighteen thousand people out of work is not going to crash the economy, make the voters angry with Obama, start a revolution, improve the economy, anything. All it will achieve is to make a lot of people suffer. Not just the 18000 who will be jobless, but also the suppliers, the craftspeople, the truck-drivers, the owners of the real estate where HL leases space, and a thousand other interconnected businesses and services.

The Greens should fire all their employees and hire them back as independent contractors. They are not legally compelled to provide health insurance for contractors (yet).

They could just cut everybody's hours back below 30 hours per week, but that would still harm their employees. I still like the contractor idea better. I'm a contractor and it works fine for me--at least I have a job.

24 posted on 11/21/2012 4:42:46 PM PST by ottbmare (The OTTB Mare)
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To: JRandomFreeper

I think by spring you’ll start to see things tank. As people realize that Obamacare is going to be very expensive through the state exchanges, and it’s going to limit choices for businesses’ health insurance, people are going to pull back investments.

Whether that’s June or September...look for a big GOP comeback in the 2014 elections. Reports of the death of the Republican party have been greatly exaggerated...just don’t tell NBC.


25 posted on 11/22/2012 8:37:41 AM PST by kjo (+)
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