Obama Admin Tells Court: Hobby Lobby Must Obey Mandate

Obama's administration told a federal court on Monday that Christian business Hobby Lobby must obey the HHS mandate, contained in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which forces companies whose owners have a religious conscience (protected under the First Amendment) to pay for contraception for women.

The retail chain which runs more than 500 stores in 41 states field a lawsuit against the Obama administration's Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate back in September, becoming the first non-Roman Catholic business to do so.

Kyle Duncan, in a piece by Katherine Jean Lopez at National Review, laid out what the Obama administration told the court:

The administration’s arguments in this case are shocking. Here’s what they are saying: once someone starts a “secular” business, he categorically loses any right to run that business in accordance with his conscience. The business owner simply leaves her First Amendment rights at home when she goes to work at the business she built. Kosher butchers around the country must be shocked to find that they now run “secular” businesses. On this view of the world, even a seller of Bibles is “secular.” Hobby Lobby’s affiliate, Mardel, sells Bibles and other Christian-themed material, but because it makes a profit the government has now declared it “secular.”

The administration’s position here — while astonishing — is actually consistent with its overall view of the place of religion in civil society. After all, this is the administration who argued in the Hosanna-Tabor case last year in the Supreme Court that the religion clauses of the First Amendment offered no special protection to a church’s right to choose its ministers — a position that the Court rejected 9-0. This is the administration which has taken to referring to “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion” — suggesting that religious freedom consists in being free to engage in private rituals and prayers, but not in carrying your religious convictions into public life. And this is the administration who crafted a “religious employer” exemption to the HHS mandate so narrow that a Catholic charity does not qualify for conscience protection if it serves non-Catholic poor people.

As you point out, the administration is trying to justify its rigid stance against religious business owners by saying otherwise they would become a “law unto themselves,” and be able to do all sorts of nasty things to their employees — like force them to attend Bible studies, or fire them if they denied the divinity of Christ. Nonsense. Hobby Lobby isn’t arguing for the right to impose the Greens’ religion on employees, nor for the right to fire employees of different religions. There’s already a federal law that protects employees from religious discrimination and that’s a very good thing. This case is about something entirely different: it’s about stopping the government from coercing religious business owners. The government wants to fine the Greens if they do not violate their own faith by handing out free abortion drugs, and now it’s saying they don’t even have the right to complain in court about it.

Duncan went on to say that the Obama administration's arguments were shocking. He said they argued "once someone starts a “secular” business, he categorically loses any right to run that business in accordance with his conscience. The business owner simply leaves her First Amendment rights at home when she goes to work at the business she built."

The HHS mandate will hit, not only Hobby Lobby, but thousands of businesses across the country January 1, 2013. For Hobby Lobby, they face a choice of dropping their employees health insurance altogether, at which point they will be required to pay approximately $26 million a year in penalty taxes, or they continue their current plan in which they will be fined $1.3 million per day. Of course I suppose that businesses around the country could just refuse to comply at all and force the federal government's hand, and appeal to their state's representatives. After all, according to Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the CATO institute, states do have the ability to shut down this mess.

According to U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton he did not rule on Hobby Lobby's request for an injunction, but rather said, “This does raise a lot of new and different issues. There’s not a lot of guidance out there.”

While the Obama administration claims that there is an exemption in the statute, Mr. Duncan claims that is unacceptable. He says,

“The safe harbor’s protection is illusory. Even though the government won’t make religious colleges pay crippling fines this year, private lawsuits can still be brought, schools are at a competitive disadvantage for hiring and retaining faculty, and employees face the specter of battling chronic conditions without access to affordable care. This mandate puts these religious schools in an impossible position.”

Meanwhile, The Thomas More Law Center won another court battle against the beast of the Obama HHS abortion mandate in court. You see, my friends, there is reason for optimism here. David slew the giant and we can overcome the growth of big government, but we must not give up hope!

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  • K.L.Richardson

    I have been reading up on all sides of this issue when I fell into this site. I have always been afraid of the "mob mentality" and it certainly shows here. For people who are pro-life I see many calling for Obama's death, for shame!
    I also would like to know what if....the owners of a company were Jehovah Witness's and wouldn't pay for blood transfusions on the insurance, or Christian Scientists and wouldn't pay for anything that wasn't prayer-based? Perhaps the only solution is to "render to Caesar what is Caesars..."etc. It just seems that some have forgotten what Jesus was really like...

  • COU_46

    I see a civil War coming on.....Time for the South to rise again against the evil forces of Obama.

  • COU_46

    If every business just refuses to play along with Obamacare and refuses to pay the fines, then what is Obama gonna do? He cant put the whole country in jail. Its time to act folks, we need to get that fool out of office by any legal means available and by force if we have to before he completely takes this country down the tubes.

  • gavinwca

    Can anyone say " Heil Obummer"!!!!!!.

  • ron

    Big Brother is not only watching-he is pulling the strings. Freedom is lost.

  • Michael LaBombard

    Hobby Lobby needs to tell obama’s administration to take their HHS mandate and go to hell!
    Maybe they could just stop business all together then what will obama say? Less tax money for him!

    Read more: http://freedomoutpost.com/2012/11/obama-admin-tells-court-hobby-lobby-must-obey-mandate/#ixzz2CDpUZXUV Must Obey Mandate

    Read more: http://freedomoutpost.com/2012/11/obama-admin-tells-court-hobby-lobby-must-obey-mandate/#ixzz2CDpUZXUV

  • Chad

    I wonder what the unemployment rate would hit if Every christian backed bussiness closed their doors for a month would be?? Tax and regulate that !

  • kds

    Time to close the doors. Let Obama figure out how to pay the idled employees and cover their health problems. CAN WE SAY 50% UNEMPLOYMENT

  • Andy Drefs

    I don't understand why this is in any way shocking? Why would anyone expect ANYTHING less from Satan? HE is the Obamanation!

  • WhiteFalcon

    What happens when many states tell the Federal Government that they refuse to comply with Ovomitcare? Does the Federal Government think it can put everyone in jail?

  • har82

    Were I the owner I would fight it. Otherwise , why even have a business ??. You don't open up a business to please - government - . You do it to make a better life for yourself and family..
    I once had a business where I did large - expensive - Custom homes and did very well after the initial 1st year. It lasted all told 9 years until the bottom fell out on the housing market. I paid everything off ,, and closed my doors. So I know ,, what it is like to lose a business. And I would never ,, allow - government - to tell me how ,,, to run my business. I did not open it to please them lol. And yes,, - I DID ,, BUILD THAT - . MR MUSLIM TYRANT .... With 30 years of experience in Construction.

  • Guest

    States are going to nullify this and every other Obama regulation that comes down very shortly. They will withhold all tax receipts from the feds indefinitely. Yes, states can starve the feds to death. Massive federal job abandonment will begin because there will be no money to make payroll and no one goes to a do nothing job when they don't get paid. Welcome to poverty federal employees.

  • juanitachristensen

    We the people need to fight back against this upsurper just as we declared our independence from the Brittish. We cannot give in to obama and secceed. LETS JOIN TOGETHER AND FIGHT BACK. We do outnumber this corrupt government. They work for us not the other way around. LET OUT VOICES BE HEARD LOUD AND CLEAR. WE WILL NOT STAND DOWN.

  • Whizz

    What did you expect, a nice Obama? People you have not seen anything yet.America is no longer a free nation.We have a government that dictates to us.Now you tell me what kind of nation do we have.Wake up people.


    Everybody knows this administration is nothing more than a gathering of unintelligent creatures infected throughout with dumb. Day after day stupid flows out of DC while they put their little heads together trying to decide what else they can steal.

    There was a day back when where the downtrodden would send the heads of the enforcers back to the despots that sent them. When that ceased to work family members or animals belonging to the tyrants were sent. makes one go HUUUUUMMMM !!

  • icemancold

    Too bad some one didn't destroy the rock the OBAMA sperm donar spewed on before OBAMA ffestered and crawled off.

  • JJM123

    Here we go - I see a lot of personnel losing jobs or hours. But then again, there will be more part time jobs available or more contract workers.

  • pat duran

    Hobby Lobby stick to your principles.