Hobby Lobby Victory; EWTN benefits
June 30, 2013.Washington, D.C. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, ruling 5-4 in favor of the right of family-run corporations to conduct their business in accord with their religious beliefs about the sanctity of human life.
Bioethics Defense Fund attorneys Nikolas T. Nikas and Dorinda C. Bordlee congratulate the owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestogo Woods and their counsel. Bioethics Defense Fund filed an amicus brief in the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Woods Supreme Court case on behalf of 286 members of Legatus, an organization of Catholic business leaders, as well as CatholicVote.org and three research organizations including the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, Polycarp Research Institute and the Coalition on Abortion Breast Cancer.
Our unique amicus brief, filed with co-counsel Patrick T. Gillen of Ave Maria Law School, informed the Supreme Court that the HHS Mandate failed to further the government’s purported interest in promoting “women’s preventive healthcare” because the mandated contraceptive drugs and devices are associated with significantly increased risks of cancer and other life-threatening diseases such as stroke and heart attack.
The Court’s decision narrowly addressed the religious liberty implications of the HHS Mandate for family-run businesses. While the rights of non-profit religious organizations like Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based universities and organizations will continue to be litigated, it is significant that the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals cited the Hobby Lobby decision in its grant of an injunction in favor of EWTN. (Read the 11th Circuit order and encouraging concurring opinion here.)
BDF president and general counsel Nikolas T. Nikas said, “We commend the majority for recognizing that ‘the HHS’s contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion’ of business owners who understand that certain drugs and devices terminate the life of a human being at the earliest stage of existence.”
As explained by Justice Alito:
“As we have noted, the Hahns and Greens . . . . object on religious grounds to providing health insurance that covers methods of birth control that, as HHS acknowledges . . . may result in the destruction of an embryo. By requiring the Hahns and Greens and their companies to arrange for such coverage, the HHS mandate demands that they engage in conduct that seriously violates their religious beliefs.”
BDF senior counsel Dorinda Bordlee said, “We congratulate the Hahn and Green families for their leadership in defending the right of individuals to act in accord with their pro-life values in their personal lives and in their family-run businesses. We will continue to analyze how this favorable decision will impact the rights of other business owners who respect the dignity of human life.”
Sharon Ryan Rodi, who attended the Supreme Court oral argument on behalf of Bioethics Defense Fund said, “This is an important decision in our common efforts to build a culture of life.”
Justice Alito delivered the 5-4 majority decision of the Court, joined by Justices Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas. Justice Kennedy also filed a concurring decision. Justice Ginsberg filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Sotomayor, with Justices Breyer and Kagan joining parts of the Ginsburg dissent as well as filing a separate dissenting decision.
- Read the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Woodscase (pages 31-38 contain the heart of the religious liberty analysis).
- Read the BDF amicus brief and see the names of the Legatus business owners who stood with Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods at the back of our brief.
- FACTSHEET ON HHS CONTRACEPTIVE CANCER RISKS: Learn more about the cancer causing risks of the mandated contraceptives and see BDF’s fact sheet. HHSBriefFACTSHEET2
- EWTN 11th Cir injunction against HHS Mandate addressing how the so-called “accommodation” is unacceptable because it requires cooperation with evil.
BDF attorneys are carefully reviewing this decision to determine how it can benefit other family-run businesses. For more updates and links to relevant news and journal articles, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
Together, we are hope in action.
Together, we can be their voice.
Little Sisters/Zubik v. Burwell: BDF Amicus Brief on behalf of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. FILED-BCPI-LittleSistersScotus