By: Leslie Griffin
The “statute did not make unlawful any religious practices . . . it simply made [them] more expensive.”—Thomas v. Review Bd., Ind. Empl. Sec. Div.
Religious belief should not be cost-free and government-subsidized. Yet from Thomas (1981) to Hobby Lobby (2014), the Supreme Court has mistakenly endorsed a cost-free, government-subsidized First Amendment. In doing so, it lost sight of the limits of free exercise and the requirements of establishment.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/6/30/doubting-thomass-and-hobby-lobbys-cost-free-religious-belief
By: Anna Su
Religious liberty claims of groups and collective entities appear to be the next front of the perennial American culture wars. After all, the recent Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby was the first to consider religious freedom claims of a for-profit corporation under a twenty-year-old statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. And in an ongoing litigation, an erstwhile little-known non-governmental organization, Little Sisters of the Poor, has asserted its objections using the same statute to any form of connection with the contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/6/30/religious-liberty-in-an-age-of-facture
By: Perry Dane
When claims for RFRA exemptions from the contraceptive mandate first popped up, I thought that the issues they raised were, on the whole, humdrum. That’s not to say that the cases were easy. But they did involve, or so I believed, largely settled principles. The difficulty was in accommodating those principles to each other on these facts. So as the debate progressed, I was most interested in how both sides described their run-of-the-mill legal dispute in apocalyptic terms, as either a fight for the very principle of religious liberty or a battle against religious tyranny.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/6/30/the-battlefields-of-hobby-lobby
By: Alan Brownstein
I do not dispute the Court’s core holding in Hobby Lobby. The government could satisfy the compelling interest of protecting women’s health through less restrictive means than the Affordable Care Act’s so-called “contraceptive mandate” without burdening the plaintiffs’ religious exercise. But Justice Alito’s opinion for the Court is problematic. Alito claims he wrote a narrow opinion. He should have. But he didn’t.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/6/30/hobby-lobby-a-unnecessarily-broad-opinion
By: Micah J. Schwartzman
Although a lot of attention in Hobby Lobby was focused on whether corporations could claim rights of religious free exercise, the better argument for proponents of the contraception mandate was that corporations should not receive accommodations that impose significant burdens on third parties, including their employees. Until Hobby Lobby, and perhaps even after it, the Court has never granted an exemption to a for-profit corporation that shifted substantial costs onto identifiable non-beneficiaries.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/6/30/what-did-rfra-restore