Hobby Lobby/ Conestoga Wood SCOTUS Arguments Recap & Transcript

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. arguing in Hobby Lobby case (drawn by Art Lien)

Over at the SCOTUS Blog, Lyle Denniston called it “one hearing, two dramas.”

The Supreme Court, in a one-hour, twenty-eight-minute session Tuesday, staged something like a two-act play on a revolving stage: first the liberals had their chance and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy gave them some help, and then the scene shifted entirely, and the conservatives had their chance — and, again, Kennedy provided them with some support.

So went the argument in the combined cases of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores andConestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius.  The “contraceptive mandate” in the new federal health care law, challenged under federal law and the Constitution, fared well in the first scene, and badly in the second.

But the ultimate outcome, it seemed, will depend upon how Justice Kennedy makes up his mind.  There was very little doubt where the other eight Justices would wind up:  split four to four.

In the first drama, Kennedy worried over the plight of female workers, and he suggested that their interests could be protected with little cost to their employers.  In the second he worried over the plight of corporations owned by families opposed to abortion and he implied that forcing them to pay for it would be wrong.

Read it all.

Another 5-4 decision coming our way, with Justice Kennedy sitting in the catbird seat? Not another Hosanna-Tabor unanimous decision? Figures.

The Green’s were encouraged by the way things went, though.

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Go to the SCOTUS website  for the complete transcript of the arguments.

  • Gail Finke
  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    The one thing I’m sure of. If this is what Catholic Latina Grandmothers think of church teaching on human sexuality, then there is no hope left for the Americas. We’ve lost the culture war, and Christ has failed to reach an entire culture.

  • Louis Bertrand

    The crux is Justice Kennedy’s second worry; forcing corporations, churches schools Jews, Moslems atheists to be forced gy government to violate conscience .

  • RFP Berkley Center

    Thanks for this great piece. We’re also following the Hobby Lobby case on our blog at http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/rfp/blog


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