Burwell V. Hobby Lobby: Case Study

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In the Constitution of the United States, the first amendment expresses two clauses on the topic of religion, the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. It states, “ Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. These clauses specifically apply to many cases in which the Supreme Court has ruled that the government cannot impose or deny specific aspects of one’s religion. This is made prevalent in cases like Wisconsin v. Yoder and Sherbert v. Verner, where the Supreme Court has ruled that a governmental requirement or law cannot place a significant amount of stress on a person’s religious beliefs without a very particular purpose. An executive agency should not …show more content…
Hobby Lobby, The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) tried to demand corporations to provide health insurance for contraceptive methods that violate the beliefs of the companies’ owners. The Supreme Court ruled that requiring businesses to provide full medical coverage for operations like abortions and other contraceptives was unconstitutional. According to Supreme Justice Alito, “a Government action that imposes a substantial burden on religious exercise must serve a compelling government interest”. The full medical coverage requirement may have been justifiable based on this condition. However, Justice Alito continues to say that in order for the mandate to be maintained, “it must also constitute the least restrictive means of serving that interest”. This means that the government’s actions must not impose a consequential burden on people it affects. The requirements set forth by the Health and Human Services were a violation of the free exercise of the company owners’ religion. The owners believed that conforming to the HHS’s requirements would promote abortions and other contraceptives, which is against their religious views. If the owners did not comply with the requirement, then they would be forced to pay a very substantial price that would then put a financial burden on the company and its owner. In both scenarios, the law was not justifiable and therefore ruled …show more content…
James Madison stated, “ In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights”. In this statement, Madison is saying that not only do people have a right to their property, but they also have a property that is enshrined in their rights. Therefore, Madison says that people’s rights are actually their property. This means that people have a right to property and also have a right to their opinions and beliefs. If a family has a right to their opinion, and that family decides to start a business, then the business becomes an extension of the family and their beliefs. Not only does a person have a right their property in the business, but they also have a right to their opinions and beliefs expressed by the company which are,in turn, expressions of the owner of the business.
If a government agency were to try to make a family owned company provide full medical coverage to its employees that covered operations like abortion and other means of contraceptives, then the government would essentially be imposing beliefs on it citizens, thus creating a religious burden on the company 's owners. This could be seen as the government also trying to establish religious beliefs, which is against the Establishment Clause found in the First Amendment of the United States

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