Obamacare Is Going Back to the Supreme Court. Again. Wow.

The news: The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will hear the case brought by a private company against the federal government’s mandate that all employers provide health insurance coverage for contraception.

The Court is expected to hear the case in March of next year, with a decision coming in June.

The backstory: One of more than 80 challenges brought against the contraception mandate, the Court will hear arguments from Hobby Lobby, a “Biblically founded” chain of arts and crafts stores.

The birth control mandate was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, and requires employers to provide coverage of contraception for its employees. Hobby Lobby and the other private companies challenging the mandate claim contraception conflicts with their religious and moral beliefs.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed in 1993, made it easier for individuals to challenge laws that restricted their religious freedom. The lawsuit brought by Hobby Lobby raises the question of whether the law applied to corporations as well. 

Why this is a big deal: A lot of women use contraception. In fact, nearly all of them do. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 99% of sexually active women have used some form of contraception before.


Source: CDC

So the Court’s decision is going to affect a very large number of people. The crux of the argument comes down to whether a corporation should have the same rights and freedoms as an individual. And wouldn’t you know, the Court has a notable history of ruling on these sorts of issues.

Should employers have the right to restrict their employees’ freedoms? Whose rights trump whose? A ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby could open the door to frequent lawsuits brought by for-profit companies against federal laws restricting their operations. 

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Benjamin Cosman

Ben graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Political Science. He recently traveled through New England looking for pie. His second-favorite pastime is googling pictures of politicians laughing.

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