Supreme Court Says Contraception Mandate Violates Religious Freedom
The U.S. Supreme Court held in a 5-4 ruling Monday that an Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) mandate that companies' employee insurance plans provide contraception violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
The landmark decision handed a victory to Hobby Lobby, a privately held retail chain of crafts stores, as well as cabinet maker Conestoga Wood. Both had filed suits seeking exemptions from the Obamacare mandate.
Justice Samuel Alito delivered the majority opinion.
Referring to the RFRA law, Alito said "the purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees."
A dissent by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and signed by Sonya Sotomayor and concurred with in part by Justice Elena Kagan, called the ruling "startling breadth."
Compelling government interests "hold no sway," Ginsberg wrote. Commercial enterprises "can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible" with religious beliefs.
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