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Monday, June 30, 2014

Breaking News:: U. S. Supreme Court Sides With Hobby Lobby, Rules Employers With Religious Objections Don't Have To Provide Contraceptives. Alleluia.

Read the opinion here. Below is a synopsis:

 The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) prohibits the “Government [from] substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise ofreligion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability” unless the Government “demonstrates that application of theburden to the person—(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furtheringthat compelling governmental interest.” 42 U. S. C. §§2000bb–1(a), (b). As amended by the Religious Land Use and InstitutionalizedPersons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), RFRA covers “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.” §2000cc–5(7)(A).At issue here are regulations promulgated by the Department ofHealth and Human Services (HHS) under the Patient Protection andAffordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), which, as relevant here, requires specified employers’ group health plans to furnish “preventive care and screenings” for women without “any cost sharing requirements,”42 U. S. C. §300gg–13(a)(4). Congress did not specify what types of preventive care must be covered; it authorized the Health Resources and Services Administration, a component of HHS, to decide. Ibid. Nonexempt employers are generally required to provide coverage for the 20 contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Admin.

Held: As applied to closely held corporations, the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA.
(a) RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of closelyheld for-profit corporations like Conestoga, Hobby Lobby, and Mardel. " 

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