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
By: Jennifer Marshall
The pitch of public controversy surrounding cultural issues—especially those related to women and reproduction—can give the impression that we live in an intractably divided society with incompatible differences.
But the Hobby Lobby decision suggests that such a tone is overwrought. The Supreme Court’s opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell correctly discerned in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) a way to navigate public life together despite our deep differences.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/6/30/can-we-all-just-get-along-yes
By: Kyle Duncan
This week’s Hobby Lobby decision has unleashed a torrent of reaction, ranging from dancing in the street to gnashing of teeth. I represented Hobby Lobby, so put me in the dancing camp. Instead of adding to that commentary, however, it’s worth considering what the decision portends for challenges now percolating through lower courts by religious nonprofits. Hobby Lobby gives those organizations solid grounds for hoping their suits will succeed too.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/6/30/hobby-lobby-spells-doom-for-mandate-20