As countless peripheral debates continue regarding ObamaCare, one of the law’s very first criticisms will be the topic of an upcoming Supreme Court decision. The nation’s highest court announced Tuesday it will hear evidence from two cases regarding the healthcare mandate requiring religious business owners to provide birth control to employees.
An effort by retail chain Hobby Lobby to reverse the mandate was successful at a lower level court; and Supreme Court justices will have the final say in that case. Another company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., initiated a similar case that was rejected by a lower court.
The high court will consider both of these cases simultaneously early next year. A decision is expected by next summer.
Both of the companies are owned by religious families who say that ObamaCare violates their First Amendment rights. In light of the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that corporations can express political opinions with the same liberty as individuals, the arguments against the contraception mandate appear to be well-grounded.
In the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, the court also found that a 1993 law broadly defining freedom of religion has bearing in this ongoing debate. In the case of Conestoga, however, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the same law did not offer protection to the company.
The Supreme Court, which earned the scorn of many conservatives upon upholding the healthcare law last year, will now decide how intrusive it may be. Instead of seeking refuge in our unambiguous constitutional rights, we now live in a society that can force individuals to violate their sacred beliefs in the name of big government.
More than half a century ago, Ronald Reagan decried government-mandated healthcare, calling it one of “the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people….”
Even he likely never imagined how prophetic his words would prove within the U.S.
–B. Christopher Agee
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