Sotomayor rejects Hobby Lobby request for injunction on HHS mandate

posted at 10:31 am on December 27, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The fight against the HHS contraception mandate and to protect the freedom of religious expression reached the Supreme Court yesterday … briefly, anyway.  Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected an emergency request for an injunction to prevent HHS from enforcing the contraception mandate on Hobby Lobby’s Catholic owners, but even Sotomayor acknowledged that they may win on the merits when the full appeal is heard:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to block the Obama administration’s contraception mandate from taking effect.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected a request for an emergency injunction that would have shielded employers from the mandate.

The request was filed by Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts chain. The company’s Catholic owners say the contraception mandate violates their religious freedom.

Hobby Lobby might eventually win on that point, Sotomayor said, but the company didn’t meet the standard for an injunction blocking the mandate from taking effect.

Hobby Lobby and the mandate’s opponents were hoping to use this case to get the Supreme Court to block overall implementation of the mandate, which takes force next Tuesday.  In order to do that, though, they have to show that (a) the plaintiffs have a good chance of winning on the merits of their First Amendment claims, and (b) the plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm without a temporary injunction.  It was on the second point that Sotomayor refused the case, at least for the moment:

“While the applicants allege they will face irreparable harm if they are forced to choose between complying with the contraception-coverage requirement and paying significant fines, they cannot show that an injunction is necessary or appropriate to aid our jurisdiction,” Sotomayor wrote in a short opinion rejecting Hobby Lobby’s request.

Sotomayor got this case because she is assigned to the 10th Circuit, where Hobby Lobby lost an appeal on the same grounds last week.  It’s hard to argue with the harm involved — defiance will cost the chain $1.3 million a day in fines.  However, HHS may not collect it immediately, even though Hobby Lobby will have to shelter the cash immediately, which will damage their ability to do business.

Expect Hobby Lobby to keep pursuing the case, and keep an eye out for emergency requests from other appellate circuits.  If one lands on the desk of Antonin Scalia or Sam Alito, the outcome could be quite different — and we may get an expedited Supreme Court argument out of it, even if it would still be preliminary.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Hobby Lobby should “go Hostess” and shut their doors on December 31. This in not negotiable. Even paying the fine acknowledges the right of government to enact such legislation. To be true to their principles, Hobby Lobby cannot conduct business in this atmosphere.

ss396 on December 27, 2012 at 11:21 AM

That’s what Obama wants. Shut down all the craft stores in America so he “has no choice” but to sign into law the Affordable Craftcare Act and nationalize all craft stores. According to the Constitution, every American has the right to “pursue happiness” and there are many, many old maids easily purchased voters single women in America who just can’t pursue that happiness if they can’t craft!

Beware the Craftcare mandate. It’s on its way.

29Victor on December 27, 2012 at 2:53 PM

allahpundit needs to conduct a poll to determine which of these “women” supreme court justices is the ugliest clockstopper.

I’d have thought vader ginsburg had it locked up but the brown wonder and five cubed could probably give her a run.

They are really a nasty and vile bunch.

acyl72 on December 27, 2012 at 3:32 PM

By then it will be too late, Hobby Lobby and others will be out of business. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Lets just get the problematic companies and ministries out of the way first.

quiz1 on December 27, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Exactly. When Hobby Lobby goes out of business, the lawsuit is mooted. Sotomayor wants to kick the can down the road until the latest possible date to allow the moocher class to get as much free stuff as possible.

blammm on December 27, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Don’t worry, ladies–John Roberts will save the day, like he did last June. After listening to Sandra Fluke, the Trojan whore.

Steve Z on December 27, 2012 at 1:10 PM

That’s just it. I don’t trust this Roberts guy will do the right thing. He failed to do his job first time around. The whole enchilada is still unconstitutional period. He is not fit to be chief justice, let alone be a member of the SCOTUS.

Red Creek on December 27, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Any suggestions from anyone on ways to help Hobby Lobby?

ansonia on December 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

We need Hobby Lobby, or Crafting For Religious Freedom, Day.

ansonia on December 27, 2012 at 4:30 PM

So is SotoMyWhore too harsh now?

DANEgerus on December 27, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Kagan, Ginsberg, Sotomayor… that sound you hear is a maggot gagging.

DANEgerus on December 27, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Cancel employee insurance and pay the fine, save money.

xplodeit on December 27, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Judge Sonia Sotomayor: Court is Where Policy is Made

Seven Percent Solution on December 27, 2012 at 7:24 PM

So this thing about separation of church and state is really a one way street. Maybe the church needs to get its own court so it can make rulings, too. If the government makes ruling “respecting” a religion, then there is no separation of church and state, it’s that simple. And they really need to understand “respecting”, and I think they do, but choose to be ignorant about it.

Ken James on December 27, 2012 at 9:18 PM

That’s what Obama wants. Shut down all the craft stores in America so he “has no choice” but to sign into law the Affordable Craftcare Act and nationalize all craft stores.

29Victor on December 27, 2012 at 2:53 PM

No, not the craft stores, first just the businesses owned by individuals with any religious conviction. HL serves as threat to everyone else. Comply or else.

quiz1 on December 27, 2012 at 10:14 PM

The wise Latina ….

Sherman1864 on December 28, 2012 at 6:38 AM

Hobby Lobby should simply close up shop and in their farewell to their THOUSANDS of employees, sarcastically thank those who voted for Emperor Øligula.
King Barack the Growth-Slayer hath spoken!
Now, go apply for unemployment, food stamps, and disability “benefits”.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on December 29, 2012 at 11:43 AM

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