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Supreme Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby

By Nick Bullock
Published: June 30, 2014
Hobby Lobby
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in a 5–4 decision that the Affordable Care Act cannot require “closely held” businesses to provide contraception coverage.

In doing so, the high court said the owners of Hobby Lobby, furniture maker Conestoga Wood Specialties, and bookseller Mardel did not forfeit protections under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 when they organized their businesses as corporations.

“The plain terms of the RFRA make it perfectly clear that Congress did not discriminate in this way against men and women who wish to run their businesses as for-profit corporations in the manner required by their religious belief,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the opinion.

The high-profile case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, involved the billionaire owners of the Hobby Lobby retailer chain, which sells crafts and some general hobby supplies.

Alito’s opinion states the court’s ruling protects “sincerely held religious beliefs of the companies owners.” But the court’s four dissenters said the decision will allow for-profit corporations to “opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”