Skip to comments.Judge: Obama Admin Can Force Hobby Lobby to Obey HHS Mandate
Posted on 11/20/2012 1:12:51 PM PST by NYer
A federal judge has issued a ruling siding with the Obama administration saying that it has the right to force Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned and run company, 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 the business says it is opposing the Health and Human Services preventive services mandate, which it says forces the Christian-owned-and-operated business to provide, without co-pay, the morning after pill and week after pill in their health insurance plan, or face crippling fines up to 1.3 million dollars per day.
By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow, said David Green, Hobby Lobby CEO and founder. We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.
However, 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.”
“The question of whether the Greens can establish a free exercise constitutional violation by reason of restrictions or requirements imposed on general business corporations they own or control involves largely uncharted waters,” Heaton wrote.
Hobby Lobby plans to appeal the ruling, according to a pro-life legal group that notified LifeNews of the ruling.
“Every American, including family business owners like the Greens, should be free to live and do business according to their religious beliefs,” Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said. We disagree with this decision and we will immediately appeal it.”
The court did not question that the Green family has sincere religious beliefs forbidding them from participating in abortion. The court ruled, however, that those beliefs were only indirectly burdened by the mandates requirement that they provide free coverage for specific, abortion-inducing drugs in Hobby Lobbys self-funded insurance plan.
Duncan previously talked about what the Obama administration told the court:
The administrations arguments in this case are shocking. Heres 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 Lobbys affiliate, Mardel, sells Bibles and other Christian-themed material, but because it makes a profit the government has now declared it secular.
The administrations 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 churchs 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 isnt arguing for the right to impose the Greens religion on employees, nor for the right to fire employees of different religions. Theres already a federal law that protects employees from religious discrimination and thats a very good thing. This case is about something entirely different: its 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 its saying they dont 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 administrations 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 harbors protection is illusory, said Duncan. Even though the government wont 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 administrations abortion pill mandate against a Bible publisher which filed a lawsuit against it — the third such victory.
I read it correctly the first time. You want atheists to be able to force their beliefs on the rest of us by demanding us non-atheists pay for their preferred social customs, in this case abortifacents. That's no different than a muslim majority demanding we pay for female circumcision, one of the preferred social customs of many muslims.
Unless they still have children age 27 or younger, who Obamacare forces to be covered on their parents' plan.
We already spend upwards of 18% of GDP on healthcare. What is the difference if that money is spent through private insurers or to a single-payer system? In the former scenario 18% of GDP is spent on healthcare and in the latter scenario 18% of GDP would be spent on healthcare.
You won't have to worry about medical bankruptcy, because there won't be any quality health care services around for you to pay for. You'll have the right to stand in line alongside the local welfare bum for poor quality care. At least until you're old enough where care will be denied in favor of euthanasia, or if you prefer a slow death of natural causes.
Typical GOP fearmongering not rooted in reality.
Sadly, more of this is what most Americans voted for in 2012.
That's a lie. Obamacare does not force parents to keep their adult children on their health plans. It just allows that to happen if the parents want to keep paying for it. Now who is trying to restrict liberty?
As a life-long bookkeeper, I am thinking you should shut down before midnight Dec 31. I am worried that any immersion into any part of Obamacare will come with penalties for then withdrawing.
In other words—don’t go near the quicksand.
We still haven’t seen every page of the 2700+++ pages.
“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.”
“the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Marcel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion”
What about a case concluding that individuals have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion? Pretty sure there’re some of them. Now ask yourself who are the proprietors of these stores. Dogs? Chickens? Robots? No, it’s those same rights bearing entities known as humans. What happened to their rights? Or is forming and running a business according to your religious beliefs not a constitutionally approved “exercise”? What is? Whispering the Lords name in your basement with the lights off and door shut, maybe.
Hey, ask a judge if it’d be okay if we banned all news sites and tv stations from reporting on events of the day without a license, and licenses were granted on the basis of conformity with whatever the State happens to be doing. Sounds like a violation of freedom of the press, but I never read anything about tv, or the Internet in the Constitution. Individuals are still free to print and chant things on street corners while ringing a bell. No one ever heard of for-profit corporations having freedom of the press./s
I would. I can find no place in the Constitution that mandates that a business, or the state, must provide health insurance at all, ever. It is unConstitutional to compel a business to provide benefits beyond an agreed-upon wage. The requirement for health insurance was just recently pulled out of Obama's well-traveled backside and has no historical or legal basis.
corporations are people
therefore they have religious freedom
they don’t need to buy contraceptives for employees
Then why don't we stop private production of food and instead send our food budget money directly to the government? Food inflation is out of control! The government can deliver your alloted monthly, Michelle-approved, sensible portions directly to your doorstep along with the U.S. mail.
Let's stop private production of cars as well. Government Motors can handle it. The government can deny automobiles to those who have adequate public transportation so we can lesson carbon emissions. That's good for everybody, right? You'll never have to live in fear of being without transportation again.
We should also stop the independent production of news and entertainment. The government can do it better. Just look at PBS and NPR, with happy cartoon characters for children to enjoy and responsible journalists who don't engage in "fearmongering" like those aggressive malcontents over on FOX News.
And what about housing? It's not fair how some people get evicted from their homes when they can't afford it while others get to live in massive mansions. If the government gets to control the housing market, there will never be another homeless person again. Everyone will be alloted an appropriately-sized apartment in public housing.
You, my friend, are the one who isn't dealing in reality. You are demonstrating an astonishing depth of ignorance by saying that government can spend our money as efficiently as individual citizens can. You are a useful idiot who believes a perfect utopia is achievable and is willing to give up your rights and your property to the first smooth-talking shyster who promises it to you. I assume you voted for Obama?
And it's not very liberating for the employee, because he can't reduce his costs by living as healthily as he can and opting for cheaper coverage to prevent catastrophic losses, such as a Major Medical plan or a Health Share plan, or no coverage it all. (The latter has heretofore been common for Americans who are in low-risk groups, e.g. young unmarried employed men ages 20 - 30, who choose to take that $nK a year and put it into something they want more, i.e. a business start-up.)(We call this "choice".)
It also results in a sharp reduction in the number of providers, since doctors will get out of a system which micro-manages their professional and ethical judgments and triples their paperwork. Most potential medical students won't bust their butts to go through all those years of schooling, internship, residency, etc. just to be put in the shackles of a system "with all the efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service and all the compassion of the IRS".
Thus you'll get a lot of foreign doctors (like in Britain), a lot of less-competent doctors, and a lot of medical tasks being shifted into the hands of nurse-practitioners, physicians' assistants, and other non-MD's, with the consequent loss of professional training and expertise.
And at last --- the ultimate cost-effectiveness measure --- you get the Adios treatment: the Liverpool Care Path, a.k.a. mandatory terminal sedation.
I didn't say it did. I said Obamacare forces the plans to cover children up to age 27. Obviously that coverage doesn't have to be accepted. Obviously the child might have their own health insurance through their own job. The point is the parents CAN'T avoid paying for abortions if they want to cover their kids on their plan, and their kid chooses to have an abortion.
Its just a cleaning business that we run but people are cutting back and quite honestly they will clean thier own homes and businesses... I still have gainful employment but this extra is really great supplemental income and it is enough to keep the girls going.
Thank you for the Blessing; and we pray the same for your family Business and your home.
I do believe we are seeing what is going to happen to many more businesses especially those that do not want to succomb to government oversight.
“people were defending white only businesses with the same argument.”
They might have been, but I’ve never heard it. The popular argument was for the right to run white, black, or whatever-only businesses based on freedom of association, which is similar to the constitutional right to peaceably assemble, among others. That’s at least debatable, as it involves 9th amendment reasoning. Religious freedom less so, because it’s there in black and white.
Also, the reason you bring up segregation to buttress a “move on” aegument is because most people have moved on from racism, at least in such a blatant form. I haven’t moved on from freedom of association and property rights, but don’t comment on the Civil Rights Act unless it comes up. Most people aren’t like me in that sense, though they are in the sense that they still believe in the freedom of religion. It may eventually go the way of racism. Not yet.
Otherwise the State can force sellers to sell, and buyers to buy, services and products which neither the seller nor the buyer want. That is a dictate--- and that's what you're arguing for.
That’s the 16th amendment. Though it is paid for through a tax on income—not an income tax persay, as in my opinion it is a direct tax on insurance status—Obamacare gets most of its juice from the “general welfare” clause of the tax and spend section.
None of us are quite sure what your issue is. You want an abortion? It's the law of the land; you can have one any old time you want, right up until the day a child is due to be born. Have as many as you'd like. No one can stop you. If you want to run a company and pay for abortions, contraceptives, sterilizations, sex-change operations, abortifacient drugs, and anything else you'd like to pay for, you can do that, too. Nothing prevents you. But pay for it yourself. Don't ask me to pay for your sex life, your sexual choices, or your employees' sex lives. Kindly do not attempt to compel me and my coreligionists to violate our beliefs just to make things cheaper or more convenient for you or for your employees.
Here's a basic conservative principle: pay for your own stuff. Take responsibility for your own life. Don't force other people to pick up the tab for your decisions.
I realize employer provided health insurance has been the norm. But that in no way means that employers have a moral or social obligation to provide health insurance. They don’t. Traditionally, companies offered insurance and other benefits, such as paid vacations, to recruit and attract people to work for them,to be able to compete for the best qualified people and to inspire employee loyalty and a work ethic beneficial to the company.
Further, I don’t believe any employer has the obligation to pay employees enough money to pay for their own health insurance. Just as a company charges what the market will bear for their product, a company can only pay an employee what his service is worth in the market.
“Here’s a basic conservative principle: pay for your own stuff. Take responsibility for your own life. Don’t force other people to pick up the tab for your decisions. “
I consider myself fairly conservative and somewhat agree with your statement and tried to use it on my ultralib friends. but as they keep reminding me, your argument above is also counter to the whole purpose of insurance, the spreading of burdensome costs. Where’s the compassion! LOL
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