Hobby Lobby Lawsuit: DOJ Moves to Consolidate with Newland

The DOJ has moved to consolidate oral argument in the Tenth Circuit in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius with Newland v. Sebelius, a similar case filed by a for-profit with religious objections to the birth control rule. In the District Court of Colorado, Newland was the first for-profit organization to receive a preliminary injunction against implementation of the rule. Senior U.S. District Court Judge John L. Kane issued his ruling in July, arguing the threat to the plaintiff's free excercise of religion required a temporary exemption to the law.

By contrast, Hobby Lobby was denied injunctive relief at the district court and circuit court level, and their application for emergency relief was denied by Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor.

The oral argument for both cases will focus on the merits of the plaintiffs' claim that the birth control rule violates their rights under the First Amendment and the the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Tenth Circuit has yet to schedule oral argument hearings in either case.