Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..
Today, the U.S. Government petitioned the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the Hobby Lobby case. With split decisions in Circuit Courts for several HHS legal challenges mounted by for profit businesses, the White House needs to obtain a definitive answer. Will for-profit employers be required to provide co-pay free services, including abortion-inducing drugs, that violate their religious or moral beliefs?.
The Becket Fund, which represents the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain, will likely be headed for another landmark case before the high court. Becket argued the Hosanna Tabor case, earning an unanimous 2012 decision in favor of religious freedom. The Becket Fund's Kyle Duncan issued a statement
The United States government is taking the remarkable position that private individuals lose their religious freedom when they make a living,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead lawyer for Hobby Lobby. “We’re confident that the Supreme Court will reject the government’s extreme position and hold that religious liberty is for everyone—including people who run a business.”
Last June the Christian-owned and operated business won a major victory before the en banc 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected the government’s argument that the Green family and their family-owned businesses, Hobby Lobby and a Christian bookstore chain named Mardel, could not legally exercise religion. The court further said the businesses were likely to win their challenge to the HHS mandate.
Becket said that if the high court grants the petition, a decision will be handed down by June 2014.
It's been a busy week for HHS news, with Cardinal Dolan issuing a letter confirming the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop's commitment to fighting the mandate through legal and legislative remedies to the federal contraception mandate. There was a 6th Circuit ruling in favor of the Obama administration, while the Tenth District Cour of Appeals decided in favor of a for-profit HHS plaintiff, a win for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the business owner.