JANUARY 30, 2014
Judicial Watch Files Amicus Curiae Brief with Supreme Court Challenging Obamacare Attack on Religious Freedom
Brief argues Obama HHS contraceptive mandate is ‘unprecedented grab for power’ violates Restoration of Religious Freedom Act
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed an amicus curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of a religious liberty challenge by the retail chain Hobby Lobby to the Obamacare “contraceptive mandate” (Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al. v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., et al. (No.13-354)). The Judicial Watch amicus maintains that the contraceptive mandate violates provisions of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which, in accordance with the First Amendment protection of the free exercise of religion, prohibits the federal government from substantially burdening religious exercise without compelling justification.
Terming the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) mandate an “unprecedented grab for power,” the Judicial Watch amicus brief argues:
The challenged regulation … is not simply the consequence of poor political choices; it is the product of a dangerous entanglement of Congress and an Executive agency that ultimately tramples on religious liberties.
In an unprecedented grab for power, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) has not only unilaterally authored, enacted, and changed the contraceptive mandate, but it now seeks to redefine a separate act of Congress – the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – to preserve its power grab. This simply cannot stand.
Judicial Watch also argues that the owners of Hobby Lobby and other businesses should not have to choose between “fidelity to [their] faith or the imposition of unimaginable fines.” The brief also reminds the Court of James Madison’s words in the Federalist Papers: “an elective despotism was not the government we fought for.”
In June 2013, Hobby Lobby won a victory in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, resulting in the Obama administration petitioning the Supreme Court to review the case. The Supreme Court agreed to review the Hobby Lobby case in November and is expected to begin hearing oral arguments in March with a ruling by late June.
“What is at stake in this case is the First Amendment right to religious freedom,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is a pivotal battle in the Obama administration’s War on Religion. This Obama assault, through Obamacare, on the Christian Church is without modern precedent. To force Americans to violate their consciences or lose their livelihoods must be met with strenuous resistance by the Supreme Court. James Madison’s warning against ‘elective despotism’ could not be more apt in describing the crisis caused this Obama administration anti-Christian policy.”