Though the Supreme Court has declined to intervene, Hobby Lobby
will continue its fight against the Health and Human Services
mandate that it provide free insurance coverage for
Hobby Lobby Stores and sister company Mardel Inc. object to the
mandate on religious grounds, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in
her ruling this week that the nation's high court did not want to
become involved at this time (see earlier story). She did, however, tell the
companies they may continue to challenge the regulations in lower
courts. The mandate takes effect next week.
"We understand the decision," responds Kyle Duncan of The Becket Fund
for Religious Liberty. "We're disappointed by it, because by
not getting involved right now, that leaves Hobby Lobby exposed to
the possibility of large fines during the legal process. That's
unfair, and we wanted the court to put a temporary halt to
U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton ruled against the companies last
month, saying that while churches and other religious organizations
have been granted constitutional protection from the mandate,
"Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations."
For refusing to comply with the mandate, Hobby Lobby could be
fined up to $1.3 million dollars per day.
"Hobby Lobby is prepared to pay fines if the government chooses
to enforce them. Hobby Lobby will continue to offer its employees
the health insurance they've always offered. Hobby Lobby, however,
will not agree to pay for and provide abortion-inducing drugs in
its health insurance plan," Duncan reports.
The case now goes back to the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals for a hearing, and Duncan hopes a decision will be
reached this coming spring.