The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will begin hearing oral arguments in two high profile cases regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. The two cases are Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. These two cases deal with the religious freedom aspects of the ACA and how it applies to individual businesses.
Senator Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas offering his continuing support for the two companies who have taken the federal government to court.
“The Supreme Court has the opportunity to affirm our fundamental right to religious freedom,” Sen. Cruz said. “Time and time again, President Obama has granted exemptions to the politically powerful, yet refuses to grant the same leniency to those for whom Obamacare’s contraception mandate infringes on their beliefs.”
“I urge the court to unequivocally stand up for the First Amendment rights of all Americans,” Cruz continued, “and stop the government from forcing employers with valid religious objections to violate their faith.”
In January, Sen. Cruz, along with Senators Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) teamed up to file an amicus brief supporting the legal positions of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties and their fight against Obamacare.
“The various delays and exceptions that the Administration has announced all have one effect: exempting even more health care plans from the requirements of the ACA,” the brief obtained by Breitbart Texas says. “In each instance, the beneficiaries of these exemptions are the politically powerful and well-connected. The Administration, however, refuses to grant the same leniency to those for whom the contraception mandate violates their sincere religious beliefs.”
In joining the amicus brief, Sen. Cornyn stated, “We will not stand by as President Obama continues to skirt the law, selectively enforcing Obamacare and hand-picking winners and losers to satisfy his political agenda. I join in filing this brief to protect the rights of all Texans and all Americans to practice their religious beliefs without obstruction from the federal government.”
In describing the case now appearing before the nation’s highest court, the Washington Post reported, “The owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties don’t have a problem with offering insurance that covers most forms of birth control, but they aren’t willing to cover emergency contraceptives–like Plan B or ella–or IUDs. Hobby Lobby contends its religious beliefs prohibit them from providing health coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices that end human life after conception.”
The Washington Post article says these cases seek to resolve the issue as to whether a for-profit corporation has a right to express the religious freedom to express the beliefs of the owners under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which was passed in 1993.
According to The Washington Post, the law states, “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.” This case will determine whether this law stands or if the government has “a compelling interest to override it [the law] in this instance.”
The Senators are not the only ones coming to the defense of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties. Grassroots activists have organized a “Hobby Lobby Day” Facebook event. Event organizers call on Americans who wish to show their support to donate their Facebook profile photo to show support for Hobby Lobby. In declaring March 29th to be Hobby Lobby Day, the group encourages activists to say thank you to Hobby Lobby by shopping in the store or at HobbyLobby.com and to deliver a thank you card to your local store. Finally, they ask people to share a photo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram of their shopping experience at Hobby Lobby. As of this writing, the Facebook page has nearly 14,000 people registered to participate.
In the amicus brief below, Sen. Cruz details several of the most egregious examples of the Administration selectively enforcing and modifying provisions of Obamacare, according to his press release, which include making the unilateral decision to delay health insurance requirements; capping out-of-pocket costs; expanding and delaying the employer mandate penalty; and granting health subsidies to members of Congress and congressional staff.
The Supreme Court’s Oral Arguments Hearing List states that oral arguments for the two cases will begin sometime after 2 p.m. EDT and are scheduled to last for about ninety minutes.
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