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.
“We are a secular nation, not Christian (anymore) and at some point will probably be muslim”
So? You don’t hear people attacking the decision on grounds of the right to the free expression of Christianity. If a muslim retail store doesn’t want to sell pork, so be it.
“A precedent of limiting coverage on religious grounds is dangerous grounds to be on?”
Why? Do you imagine employers won’t let their staff buy condoms, receive blood transfusions, or whatever else superstition forbids? There’s an elegant solution, and one our civilization gas apparently forgotten: get another job! Better yet, let’s decide as a society to divorce the corrupt union of employment and insurance coverage.
They keep pissing off all the christians and every hobby lobby across the country will be set aflame by their own managers to send a message “we will not comply”...
Oh, you mean the IRS.
And to top it off...you have ultralib friends. Your words...not mine.
Friends? Ultralib? And you are here?
Donald...I think I've replied to you on another thread....and said the same thing.
You are not a Conservative! Period.
Let us hope, and pray, that the American people wake up to this gross usurpation of power by Obama, his accomplices in congress, and his courts.
Yep, that’s why I said “mostly”. The likelihood of having a daughter on insurance at that age would be minimal.
You wouldn’t want them to go to a leftist indoctrination center anyways, which is what most post secondary institutions are these days.
Single payer leads to an end to medical progress. The effective, expensive new medicine can’t be used because it is not on the formulary. The approved drugs and procedures will be the old ineffective ones.
The model for the single payer system is the old Soviet agricultural system.
I like Christian healthcare, miracles and more miracles. I think we have the best healthcare going, who else has brought back the dead, or made the lame to walk?
“No, they CANT force them to comply.
Hobby Lobby can re-arrange their business so that they are not covered by the law.”
Or they could simply shut the doors.
I don't think so. Any kids you had at age 24 or older could still be eligible for your insurance after you turn 50. If you had a kid at age 35, she'd be eligible until you're 62.
Here's the problem with that line of reasoning. If Paul's house burns down and he has no fire insurance on it, we would just say, "Too bad for Paul... he should have bought fire insurance."
But if Paul gets cancer and has no health insurance, very few of us would say "Too bad for Paul... I guess he's going to die."
People are not sympathetic with someone who makes a poor financial decision such as fire insurance. But most people are willing to pitch in to save someones life -- in the US they always have been. That is why all of our hospital systems began as charity hospitals.
Our problem for the last 45 years after allowing the government's nose under the tent of health care is that now it has become a massive bureaucracy that cares nothing about Paul's cancer. Paul is just another number to them, not a person who we would extend empathy to. The bureaucracy is incapable of empathy or of caring weather Paul lives or dies. He's just a cypher amidst a mass of paperwork to them.
We have managed to remove the human element of compassion from health care and made it a budgetary matter for faceless, and in fact heartless bureaucracies to handle and often corrupt and greedy 'health care providers' to deliver.
The "charity" and simple human empathy element of health care has been nearly totally removed from the equation. It is now big business thanks to government involvement.
Well, Judge Heaton, you arguably can tell the owner of a going concern, even a privately held going concern, that the government can compel him to follow the HHS mandate. I think you’ll find it might be more difficult for you and HHS if the CEO of said concern says “Okay, we talked it over and we can’t in good conscience continue Hobby Lobby as a going concern with those laws in place. We’re closing all our facilities, terminating all our employees, basically winding up the company. We’ll help our employees find new work, and make sure they (and potential employers) understand we’re not doing this because they’re bad employees, but we’re also going to be very honest and open with them all about why we’re doing this. And laws and court decisions like these are exactly why we’re doing this. And then you people can deal with the financial and human consequences of 18,000 newly unemployed people, and decide whether you really like your laws that much.”
Actually, it was pulled out of the Heritage Foundation's well-traveled backside.
Very bad news. It’s interesting that they’re attacking the Protestant organizations first, even though there were only a couple of groups that opposed Bambicare. At the same time, the Catholic Church as a whole has said it’s not going to implement Bambicare (and has also filed suit), but the secularist forces don’t feel this is a good time to confront the bishops. Too bad for them, because our bishops get more conservative and more aggressive every day..
I think the government may be hoping to threaten smaller groups or even the friends of these groups enough to make them back off. Some of them will, some of them won’t. When they go after the Church (I’m betting by January), I think things will be a lot clearer for all people.
Go back to school because, in the case of Papa John's, having to charge/pay $0.14 more for a pizza will kill the economy. :rolleyes:
Paying in income-type tax would be much less burdensome to businesses than the current system of yearly negotiations with insurance companies and administering the insurance paperwork for their employees.
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".)
Welcome to the burdens of living in a modern society. We make it mandatory here in Florida to purchase auto insurance to protect people from having to deal with paying for things out of pocket caused by uninsured motorists. Health coverage ought to work the same way, everybody pays in and it is there when you need it.
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".
We're already undergoing a severe shortage of doctors and it's been happening since before the passage of Obamacare. It's caused by a population increasing faster than the medical schools can push out doctors. Fix the supply of doctors by building more medical colleges and making it so that becoming a doctor doesn't mean taking on crushing levels of student debt.
And who do you think is the largest funder of medical innovation and progress in the world? The US government funded National Institutes of Health to the tune of over $30bn annually.
Maybe it is time for you to move on to DU? Conflating religious freedom and conscience with racism and or bigotry is a leftist tactic.
YOU are a leftist!
And? It’s not like I’ve been trying to hide it.
You need to get deprogrammed -your mind is corrupted by leftist propaganda. YOU are one of Obama's useful idiots advocating for government imposed tyranny.
The Heritage Foundation may have had part of the idea, but it did not ram is idea down the collective throat of the nation in defiance of the people’s desire. The plan Heritage advanced had none of the complexity and intrusiveness of the current 2700-page law, which was thrown together in a few months by people who had no clinical experience whatsoever. Eventually, after some consideration and feedback, Heritage dropped the idea. Obama did not.
The ACA is an interesting piece of legislation. Have you read it? The entire thing? Do you have to work within its constraints? Are you familiar with the functioning and shortcomings of the hideous National Health Service of the UK? Do you have either medical research or clinical experience? I have. I submit that if you too could answer those questions in the affirmative, you’d have a more realistic idea of the effects of Obamacare, and of the single-payer system for which you long.
“If a corporation is a person, then why doesnt it have religious freedom?”
I’ll venture a guess, if I may: because it’s not consistent with the Marxist left’s agenda (21?) for America.
Hobby Lobby could cancel all insurance, pay the $2000 penalty, and know they didn’t buy insurance that covered birth control.
I can’t wait for a conservative president to require all businesses to reverently display posters of Jesus throughout their work environments. It would tak Congress to help, but it might not infringe, as long as no one had to do anything with it beyond displaying it.
Well we have been looking at a couple of Christian Schools. And College of the Ozarks seems interesting. Our local university doesn’t seem to bad or Sul Ross out in Alpine... I guess it will be a wait and see.
True but I gave my word to my employees and even if it costs me money... I must keep my word.
I guess that means muslims may not be allowed to run halal meat markets? or Bakeries? Hmmmm I have a feeling Obama will find a way to compromise with them.
Most muslims will sell anything in their store. They can sell but not use or prepare. They are not required by any law to sell or stock any particular product.
Insurance is a whole different ballgame. I'm sure your premiums pay for all kinds of stuff that is against religion but we can't really pick and choose how the money is spent once we send in our premiums. I don't thnik they can win this.
The government does not make new products. They provide money and private companies design and build the products.
Anyone who have dealth with the govt knows that most of their procedures are not cost effective. Its is “free” taxpayers money so they could care less about cost.
We would still have medical progress but it would be more expensive.
I wonder what would happen if Hobby Lobby decided to pursue liquidation over this.
I actually think thats what obama is hoping for. They only have two choices. Throw their religious beliefs out the window or be forced to pay crippling fines that will drive them out of business.
Take it to a higher court and FIGHT this Hobby Lobby.
All citizens SHOULD be horrified by this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lying bastard. Our First Amendment rights have been spit on, trampled on and breached. Rebellion is in order. It is time to storm DC and make our voices heard.
The same is not true for just existing --- being a legal resident of the United States. Just "being here" creates negligible risk of calamitous damage to other persons and their property.
On physician supply and climate of care: Of course there are many factors which influence the supply of doctors: number of openings available in med school, the burdens of student debt, etc. But a big one is the climate of care. With the disappearance of freestanding doctors' offices, small practices and even small hospitals --- due to much higher overheads, complex record-keeping and omnipresent minute regulation --- the care environment becomes depersonalized, even "industrialized." Couple that with stagnant or dropping levels of compensation, and you see lots of doctors leaving medicine (Link) and patients suffering from big declines in personal care.
Literally hundreds of thousands of examples of this in the U.K.
NHS: shabby, unsustainable, our future.
They're not facing a $2000 penalty. They are facing fines of $1.3 million per day. That's a daunting prospect for a family-owned business.
Free Exercise has been redefined as what happens during the worship service. Not how you live your life.
Hey Game, you may have some weird ideas but this one is right smack on the mark. It stinks. If the shareholders of Hobby Lobby do not want it managed in that manner, then they should buy its Christian owners out, not coerce them to play along with actions that they are convinced that God forbids. And neither under any reasonable view of the US Constitution should the Federal government have any right to coerce them thus, either.
This has gotten way out of hand.
Liberals want to punk society through the government.
This leftist stray alley cat ksen sneaked in here and now wants to be fed. If fed, it will shortly demand the right to keep on being fed.
Time to go “Twinkie” on them.
Shut the doors, turn out the lights and close.
Do not compromise your faith, ever.
(I am sure most of the young ladies working there are lib. . .the odds support that. . .and voted for The Messiah. Let them reap what they sowed.)
He “grew” in office.
That is how libs describe conservatives that become liberal.
We have principle headed for a train wreck again.
The USSC might, narrowly, do the right thing here. And since the exact scope of Obamacare coverage isn’t dictated by Congress but by bureaucrats, said bureaucrats have room to be flexible if they want to be.
There are many slips between the cup and the lip, and it might also be possible that the right argument was never made and the right precedents never presented. Some weird decisions come out of badly argued cases.
“Employees could afford their own policies if government intervention, control and regulation wasn’t driving up the cost of health care so much.”
And sleazy ambulance-chasing lawyers. Can’t forget the sleazy ambulance-chasing lawyers.
There’s some of that, but if there weren’t also a large dumb population willing to sell their soul to the lawyers, the lawyers themselves couldn’t get very far.
Donald’s tagline: “A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle”
Yet. . .I find Donald’s position contrary to that tagline.
Ha. . .so true. . .so true.