Nine U.S. Senators Say Hobby Lobby Is Protected from the HHS Mandate By Law

Nine U.S. Senators Say Hobby Lobby Is Protected from the HHS Mandate By Law February 20, 2013

And a couple of Representatives from the House too. And which law might that be? The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law way back in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.

The Becket Fund has the details,

Washington, D.C. – Last night, nine U.S. Senators and two U.S. Representatives, along with the Oklahoma Attorney General and 11 other key groups, filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting the Becket Fund’s challenge to the HHS mandate on behalf of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. The HHS mandate forces the Christian-owned-and-operated business to provide the “morning after pill” and “week after pill” in their health insurance plan or face crippling fines.

“While any brief by sitting members of Congress is significant, this one comes from members who originally supported the federal civil rights law—the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993—which is at the heart of the mandate challenges,” said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The brief leaves no doubt that Congress intended to protect the religious freedom of those like Hobby Lobby and its founder, David Green, against federal attempts to force them to insure abortion-inducing drugs.”

The case is currently before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. A hearing could take place as early as this spring.

Signed by Senators Orrin G. Hatch, Daniel R. Coats, Thad Cochran, Mike Crapo, Charles Grassley, James M. Inhofe, Mitch McConnell, Pat Roberts, Richard Shelby and Congressmen Lamar Smith and Frank Wolf, the Congressional brief states:

“Congress plainly wrote [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or “RFRA”] to include corporations[.]”

The federal government “may not pick and choose whose exercise of religion is protected and whose is not.”

The federal government’s “refusal to apply RFRA . . . turns the law of religious freedom upside down. RFRA places a heavy burden on Government and protects religion by default. But the HHS mandate places a heavy burden on religion and protects Government by default.”

An extraordinary example of bipartisanship, versions of RFRA were introduced by then-Senator Joe Biden, Senator Orrin Hatch and the late Senator Ted Kennedy, as well as then-Congressmen Chuck Schumer and Christopher Cox. It drew support from groups ranging from the ACLU, the Christian Legal Society, People for the American Way, the Southern Baptist Convention and Concerned Women for America. RFRA was signed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.

In addition, 11 other key briefs were filed on behalf of Hobby Lobby stores, including the State of Oklahoma, the Christian Medical Association and the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, to name a few.

Read the remaining briefs at the Becket Fund website.

Yes, yes, the courts will have the last say. But it never hurts to remind them about the importance of our first, most cherished, liberty.

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