WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) expressed confidence Tuesday that the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down the Health and Human Services' controversial contraception mandate that requires employers to pay for birth control, including those that can lead to the early termination of pregnancies.
Speaking to CP Insider on Tuesday, Cruz said he's "confident that the U.S. Supreme Court is going to strike down the contraceptive mandate."
Cruz also expressed his support for Hobby Lobby Inc., an Oklahoma-based company whose owners are opposed to having to pay for four types of birth control (two types of IUDs, and Plan B and EllaOne), under Obamacare's employer mandate, or pay $1.3 million in fines each day.
Hobby Lobby does provide insurance that covers 16 of the 20 contraceptives that the HHS mandate requires under Obamacare, but its owners have religious objections to providing coverage for items they believe destroy human life.
"Under Obamacare, the Obama administration has granted exemptions for big business, its granted exemptions for members of Congress, its granted exemptions for those who walk the corridors of power," Cruz told CP in an exclusive interview.
"And yet, it is denying that same fair treatment to those who are practicing their religious faith. That is contrary to the law, its contrary to the Constitution. The question in this case is whether the American government can force Americans to violate the dictates of their faith," Cruz added. "Under the Constitution, under the First Amendment, under centuries of our tradition the answer is 'no.'"
Cruz was seated in the press gallery at the Supreme Court to hear the 90 minutes of oral arguments in the case, Kathleen Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialty Store vs. Sebelius.
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods Specialties of Pennsylvania argued before the Supreme Court that the HHS mandate forces them to violate their religious beliefs.
Hobby Lobby is owned by the Green family who are Evangelical Christians, and Conestoga Woods is owned by the Hahn family who are Mennonite Christians.
Outside the courthouse protesters both supportive and critical of the HHS mandate held demonstrations amid heavy snowfall.
Barbara Green, a member of the family that owns and operates Hobby Lobby, said in a statement made to the press after oral arguments that she was "encouraged" by the proceedings.
"We were encouraged by today's argument. We are thankful that the Supreme Court took our case and we prayerfully await the Justices' decision," said Green.
Others, including Simon Brown of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, expressed a concern about the Court possibly ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby.
Brown wrote in a blog entry that Hobby Lobby's success might lead to more troubling trends.
"If corporations gain the right to be exempted from one law on religious grounds, there is no telling how many other statutes religious fundamentalists will seek to ignore in the future – all in the name of conscience," wrote Brown.