In the case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) challenge that won't die, new voices are now jumping into the legal fray. Eleven Republican Congressmen, led by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, submitted an amicus brief in support of Hobby Lobby's challenge of Obamacare in the name of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
We've covered a few of Hobby Lobby's crafty exploits here, but up to this point, they've had little success in fighting the health care mandate and its related birth control provisions.
Hobby Lobby's beef centers on the mandate to provide "morning after" and "week after" pills. The company argues that the pills conflict with their evangelical Christian belief that abortion is wrong.
Hobby Lobby faced up to $1.3 million in fines per day if it didn't provide the ACA mandated healthcare -- including birth control pills -- beginning on January 1 of this year. The initial pursuit of an injunction to hold off enforcement of the fines was denied by the Tenth Circuit and by the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, by shifting its plan dates, Hobby Lobby exploited a loophole that enabled it to continue avoiding fines while fighting the case. According to CNN, that loophole bought a few fine-free months, but it won't last forever.
As for the pending case, the amicus brief argues that the district court was wrong in carving an exemption to the RFRA's protections for secular for-profit corporations. This arguably runs contrary to the Supreme Court's definition of corporations as people, as well as the intent of the lawmakers that passed the RFRA (including the 11 men behind the brief) and those that passed the Affordable Care Act.
According to the brief, the RFRA was intended to apply a "single, religion-protective principle for evaluating all actions of the federal government that substantially burden the exercise of religion." The RFRA requires a universal standard. The government, through political compromise, has created a three-tiered approach to religious objections to the PPACA, which offers protections to some and not to others.
- Brief of Amici Curiae (Senator Orrin Hatch, et al.)
- SCOTUS Sends Liberty Back to Fourth Circuit (FindLaw's Fourth Circuit Blog)
- The Importance of a Backup Plan: SCOTUS Upholds Individual Mandate (FindLaw's Supreme Court Blog)