- (Photo: Hobby Lobby)
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide Monday whether the contraception mandate under the ObamaCare violates the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as claimed by Hobby Lobby and dozens of other companies, or protects women's right to medical care, as alleged by the Obama administration.
Hobby Lobby, whose owners are Southern Baptist, filed suit saying the HHS mandate, which requires businesses to offer contraception to employees, is against the religious beliefs of the owners. Another case clubbed with that suit involved furniture maker Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp.
The court is looking at methods and devices, such as emergency contraceptives Plan B and ella and also intrauterine devices, can work after conception, according to the petitioners.
Hobby Lobby, which has 500 stores and more than 10,000 employees, won its desired exemption at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but Conestoga lost its petition in the 3rd Circuit, which said corporations cannot be religious.
On Monday, the final day of its term, the court could affirm Hobby Lobby's win at the 10th Circuit, or go with the decision of the 3rd Circuit.
"We see no reason the Supreme Court would recognize constitutional protection for a corporation's political expression but not its religious expression," the 10th Circuit said.
The mandate under the Affordable Care Act exempts non-profits, religious organizations and churches, but not for-profit corporations.
While the court hasn't recognized a for-profit corporation's religious rights thus far, supporters are confident.
"Absolutely, we win – we are very confident after oral argument in March that we will prevail in this case," Hannah Smith, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby, told Fox News. It's a case of government "overreach" and "we're hopeful we might see some unanimity here," she added, citing recent unanimous decisions, including last week's ruling that Obama "exceeded his constitutional authority."
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, told "Fox News Sunday" the court will hopefully "uphold the rights of individuals for their expression of their religious freedoms."
However, Rep. Xavier Becerra, a Democrat from California, said the court will dismiss Hobby Lobby's case.
"The government will not violate anyone's religious beliefs, but no one has the right to discriminate against a woman because of her own beliefs. And I believe that the Supreme Court will find that," Becerra said on "Fox News Sunday." "The owner has a right to his or her religious beliefs, but that doesn't mean you get to discriminate against women when women have different beliefs than the owner has."