Burwell V. Hobby Lobby Case Study
Legal Brief Arielle Williams
October 9, 2017
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, 573 U.S. ___ (2014)
Facts of the case
1. The Green Family owns and operates the arts and crafts company Hobby Lobby, Incorporated. This large chain has over 500 stores and more than 13,000 full-time employees. Hobby Lobby is a closely held, private for-profit company. In 2010, there was a mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that required companies with more than fifty full-time employees to provide female employees with well woman checkups, as well as access to contraception, without any cost sharing requirements. Hobby Lobby was willing to provide all of these things to their employees, except for four pills …show more content…
In September of 2012, Hobby Lobby filed a suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma over the federal mandate to provide four specific potentially life-terminating drugs and devices. In November of 2012, the U.S. district court for the Western District of Oklahoma denies Hobby Lobby’s Request for a preliminary injunction, which means they must abide by the federal mandate. Then, Hobby Lobby appealed the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the tenth circuit. Through this appeal, they are seeking emergency relief from the federal mandate. A month later, the Tenth circuit court of appeals denies emergency relief. Because of this, Hobby Lobby was granted an en banc trial, rather than a traditional three-judge panel. In June of 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the tenth circuit overturns the Oklahoma district court’s ruling and remands the case back to the U.S. District court for the Western District of Oklahoma. The court later grants Hobby Lobby its preliminary injunction against the federal mandate. Due to this ruling, the federal government appeals the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court later decides to hear the case. In June of 2014, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling, with Justices Alito, Thomas, Kennedy, Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts on the …show more content…
Is Hobby Lobby protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act?
2. Does this government action that imposes a substantial burden on religious exercise serve a compelling governmental interest?
3. Do corporations that are closely-held have the same rights as individuals when it comes to religious exercise?
On June 30, 2013, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling, with Justices Alito, Thomas, Kennedy, Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts on the majority and Justices Kagan, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg dissenting. The court sided with Hobby Lobby. It was determined that the mandates set forth by the United States Department of Health and Human services, which required employers to provide females with all forms of contraception, even those that violated their religious beliefs was a violation under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Through this ruling it was determined that Hobby Lobby was protected under RFRA. It was also decided that closely held corporations do not have to compromise their religious and moral philosophies to accommodate their employees according to mandates set by the federal government. Due to the fact that fines for Hobby Lobby would reach upwards of 475 million dollars, it imposes substantial burden on the company which would cause them to limit their religious exercise because of the financial grievance placed upon them. Lastly, it was determined that closely held corporations, that control their board of directors and all other