Justices to hear 'Hobby Lobby' case on Obamacare birth control - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Justices to hear 'Hobby Lobby' case on Obamacare birth control

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The justices will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a dispute involving contraception coverage and religious liberty.

The court will review provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring for-profit employers of a certain size to offer insurance benefits for birth control and other reproductive health services without a co-pay.

At issue is whether certain companies can refuse to do so on the sincere claim it would violate their owners' long-established personal beliefs.

"Our religion is Mennonite; that is our faith. Our company was founded on that religion as well," said Conestoga's President Anthony Hahn, son of the privately held company's co-founder. "We feel the government has gone too far in too many instances. It's been troubling to us as a family."

The modest furniture maker's pending lawsuit is one of nearly 50 that have been filed in federal courts from various corporations, challenging the birth control coverage benefits in the law championed by President Barack Obama. 

That law has come in for separate, fierce political criticism over its rocky public introduction last fall.

Two separate appeals will be heard together in the high court's 90-minute public session. A ruling expected by late June could clarify whether businesses have a religious liberty right, or whether such constitutional protections apply only to individuals.

The companion legal challenge comes from Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma-based retail giant that will have more than 700 arts and crafts stores nationwide by year's end.

Both corporations emphasize their desire to operate in harmony with biblical principles while competing in a secular marketplace. That includes their leaders' publicly stated opposition to abortion.


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