Montana Attorney General Tim Fox issued the following statement today in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Nos. 13-354, 13-356, that President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) violates the religious freedoms of America’s family-owned businesses:
“Today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case upholds Americans’ religious liberties. In January of this year, I was proud to have joined 19 other state attorneys general on a friend of the court brief filed in this case. Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the mandatory Medicaid-expansion provisions of Obamacare, and today the Supreme Court struck down those illegal provisions of Obamacare that violate the First Amendment religious freedoms of America’s family business owners.”
Background: Montana joined 19 other states in a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief (http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/supreme_court_preview/briefs-v3/13-354-13-356_amcu_som.authcheckdam.pdf) challenging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations promulgated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) mandating that closely-held, for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby, Mardel, and Conestoga Wood provide health-insurance coverage for four FDA-approved contraceptives that operate after the fertilization of the human egg. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., Mardel Christian & Education Stores, Inc., and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. are all closely-held, family-owned, for-profit businesses whose owners have deeply-held religious convictions about the use of certain contraceptives. The families operate their businesses using faith-based models that incorporate their religious beliefs and moral principles. These businesses sued (Hobby Lobby and Mardel in Oklahoma, and Conestoga in Pennsylvania) the Secretary of Health and Human Services seeking to invalidate HHS regulations requiring their businesses to provide “abortifacient” contraceptives through company health insurance policies. The U.S. Supreme Court decided both cases in one 5-4 opinion (http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf) authored by Justice Samuel Alito for the majority.