Supreme Court lets stand several rulings blocking enforcement of HHS mandate

posted at 8:01 am on July 2, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The mantra after the announcement of the 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision on Monday, other than the Left’s shrieking over falling skies and theocracies, has been this: It was narrowly decided. That analysis springs from Justice Samuel Alito’s mention of Hobby Lobby’s status as a closely-held corporation, and the narrow number of contraceptive methods that the retailer chose to reject. That gave some hope that other cases involving broader rejection of contraception coverage might be more problematic in later cases.

A series of orders on lower-court rulings on Tuesday suggests to the Associated Press that Hobby Lobby might not be quite as narrow as some may think:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed that its decision a day earlier extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just the handful of methods the justices considered in their ruling. …

Tuesday’s orders apply to companies owned by Catholics who oppose all contraception. Cases involving Colorado-based Hercules Industries Inc., Illinois-based Korte & Luitjohan Contractors Inc. and Indiana-based Grote Industries Inc. were awaiting action pending resolution of the Hobby Lobby case.

The court also sent back two more cases to an appellate court that had ruled in favor of the mandate, with orders to reconsider in light of Hobby Lobby:

The justices also ordered lower courts that ruled in favor of the Obama administration to reconsider those decisions in light of Monday’s 5-4 decision.

Two Michigan-based companies, Autocam Corp. and Eden Foods Inc., both lost their cases in the lower courts. The justices ordered the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decisions against the companies.

The ACLJ announced yesterday that the Court has granted a reversal for one of their cases, Gilardi v HHS, after a partial defeat in the DC Circuit:

In the wake of yesterday’s blockbuster Hobby Lobby decision striking down the HHS Mandate, today the Supreme Court granted our petition for review in the case of Gilardi, v. HHS, and denied the government’s petition in our case of Korte v. HHS.  In Gilardi, the Court vacated the decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (see report of decision here) and sent the case back to the lower court to apply the Hobby Lobby decision to the facts of the Gilardi case.  In Korte, the Court’s action today leaves in place the resounding victory we achieved at the Seventh Circuit (see report of decision here.)

The district court refused to order an injunction against enforcement of the mandate in Gilardi, which would have cost the business owner $14 million in penalties for refusing to provide abortifacient contraceptives to his employees (all of whom can buy them on their own, of course).

All of these orders make clear that Hobby Lobby is not just a fluke. The Supreme Court appears ready to apply the ruling on a broad basis with for-profit businesses, even those who refuse to cover any contraceptive method at all. That would suggest that any attempt to impose the mandate on explicitly religious organizations seems to have a couple of strikes against it at the Court already, even with the so-called “accommodation” offered as a compromise. The Supreme Court clearly takes the RFRA and the First Amendment seriously on this point.


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Comment pages: 1 2

AesopFan — Actually, Hobby Lobby’s previous insurance plan covered the drugs it later objected to in its lawsuit, as do/did most plans. It dropped coverage prior to bringing suit.
See:
http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/jul/01/sally-kohn/did-hobby-lobby-once-provide-birth-control-coverag/

cam2 on July 2, 2014 at 5:20 PM

AesopFan — Actually, Hobby Lobby’s previous insurance plan covered the drugs it later objected to in its lawsuit, as do/did most plans. It dropped coverage prior to bringing suit.
See:
http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/jul/01/sally-kohn/did-hobby-lobby-once-provide-birth-control-coverag/
 
cam2 on July 2, 2014 at 5:20 PM

 
Shame about this part of your link:
 

The only caveat here is Hobby Lobby said it didn’t know it was covering the drugs.
 
“Coverage of these drugs was not included knowingly or deliberately by the Green family. Such coverage is out of step with the rest of the Hobby Lobby’s policies, which explicitly exclude abortion-causing contraceptive devices and pregnancy-terminating drugs,” the company stated in its court filing.

 
In its court filing. That’s a fairly serious legal document, isn’t it?
 
Or do you think Christians should only be allowed to evolve on gay marriage?

rogerb on July 2, 2014 at 5:29 PM

rogerb: you seem very eager to take offense where none is intended. The poster I replied to said that HL was forced to add this coverage by the ACA. I merely pointed out that this was not the case. These drugs were then and are now almost universally covered in standard policies, as they were in HL’s policy.

cam2 on July 2, 2014 at 5:38 PM

rogerb: you seem very eager to take offense where none is intended. The poster I replied to said that HL was forced to add this coverage by the ACA. I merely pointed out that this was not the case. These drugs were then and are now almost universally covered in standard policies, as they were in HL’s policy.
 
cam2 on July 2, 2014 at 5:38 PM

 
Nope. I just enjoy noting hypocrisy.
 
Are you the new cam2?
 
Welcome to hotair. I’m rogerb.

rogerb on July 2, 2014 at 5:47 PM

rogerb — It’s not MY concern. I’d be happy with single payer. I just think it’s odd for conservatives to be demanding that women “pay for their own sex lives” on the one hand (though Hobby Lobby pays for vasectomies and Viagara, but let’s not go there), yet celebrating the Court’s decision, which will result in the government, not individual women, paying the tab.

cam2 on July 2, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Well, here’s a hint. Viagra and vasectomies don’t include the possibility of causing the death of a fetus/embryo. That is what HL is objecting to. They don’t want to be part of what they consider murder.

cptacek on July 2, 2014 at 5:57 PM

The Supreme Court clearly takes the RFRA and the First Amendment seriously on this point.

Man, you just made my day. :)

Theophile on July 2, 2014 at 5:59 PM

no fluke (pun intended)

BTW over 50ish cases is NOT “several” just saying

mathewsjw on July 2, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Funny, before ACA, most employer insurance did not cover Contraceptives or abortions…….

Barred on July 2, 2014 at 4:21 PM

No. Most private employer prescription drug plans have covered birth control for quite a while. Many private employer insurance plans have also covered medically necessary abortions and some have covered elective abortions for quite a while (it depends). Go look at your own plans.

The Supreme Court clearly takes the RFRA and the First Amendment seriously on this point.

Man, you just made my day. :)

Theophile on July 2, 2014 at 5:59 PM

The Supreme Court talked about the First Amendment in this case, but it held that RFRA applied, so whatever it said about the First Amendment is not as significant or reliable as what it said about RFRA.

jim56 on July 2, 2014 at 6:50 PM

Nope. I just enjoy noting hypocrisy.

rogerb on July 2, 2014 at 5:47 PM

I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

cam2 on July 2, 2014 at 6:56 PM

Nope. I just enjoy noting hypocrisy.
 
rogerb on July 2, 2014 at 5:47 PM

 
I don’t think that word means what you think it means.
 
cam2 on July 2, 2014 at 6:56 PM

 
Nah, I’m pretty sure I got it. Well, you got it. Whatever.
 
http://hotair.com/archives/2014/07/02/supreme-court-lets-stand-several-rulings-blocking-enforcement-of-hhs-mandate/comment-page-1/#comment-8262243
 
See you next thread, and again, welcome to hotair.

rogerb on July 2, 2014 at 8:12 PM

Oops. Sorry, wrong link.
 
http://hotair.com/archives/2014/07/02/supreme-court-lets-stand-several-rulings-blocking-enforcement-of-hhs-mandate/comment-page-1/#comment-8262157
 
(Just kidding. I just wanted them both up there.)

rogerb on July 2, 2014 at 8:13 PM

Comment pages: 1 2