Hobby Lobby loses to HHS mandate in federal court
November 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The largest company to bring suit against the ObamaCare HHS mandate has lost its suit in federal court. Hobby Lobby, the arts and craft company, which was joined by its sister company Madel, sued the federal government in September, alleging that the HHS mandate, which requires provision of abortion-causing drugs in insurance coverage to employees, violates the owner’s religious beliefs.
The decision against Hobby Lobby comes one day after an Illinois-based Christian publisher became the third company to win a reprieve from the controversial mandate while the courts hash out its constitutionality.
In his suit, Hobby Lobby owner David Green had likewise requested an injunction against the mandate. However, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton ruled that the “Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.”
Hobby Lobby expects to face fines estimated at $1.3 million per day beginning January 1 if it is unsuccessful in its legal challenge and does not comply with the mandate.
Until now, the Christian owned company has weathered a challenging economy relatively unscathed, even growing its employee numbers while maintaining fewer hours than industry competitors and closing shop on Sundays.
But the HHS mandate could change all that. For now, however, Hobby Lobby isn’t giving up hope. The company has already appealed the case.
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“No American should have to choose between following his faith and paying enormous fines,” Green’s attorney, Lori Windham, Senior Counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told LifeSiteNews.com.
She added, “The court below said it was not a substantial burden on the Greens’ religious freedom to force their family-owned company to pay for abortion-causing drugs. We believe the First Amendment means more than that.”
In a statement to LSN in September, Green had said, “We have always operated our company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles, including integrity and service to others.”
Judge Heaton, emphasizing that “the court is not unsympathetic” to Green’s conundrum, alluded to the lack of precedent in addressing the matter of religious liberty for non-religiously affiliated companies and organizations. In his ruling he stated the mandate “results in concerns and issues not previously confronted by companies or their owners.”
“The question of whether the Greens can establish a free exercise constitutional violation by reason of restrictions or requirements imposed on general business corporations they own or control involves largely uncharted waters.”