JUNE 30, 2014
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement today in response to the United States Supreme Court’s “Hobby Lobby” holding that the contraceptive mandate, as applied to closely held corporations, is unlawful. The five-four decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito, sided with family-run businesses that regard some forms of contraception, especially those that can cause abortions, as immoral.
A battle has been won in the defense of the First Amendment right to religious freedom. The Obama administration has been waging war on several fronts against the Christian Church. This Obama assault, through Obamacare, was without modern precedent. Judicial Watch today applauds the high court’s decision to repel the administration’s overreach, which would have had Americans violate their consciences or lose their livelihoods.
Judicial Watch filed an amicus curiae brief on January 28 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’s brief argues 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.”