Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Parties Petition SCOTUS to Hear Corporate Free Exercise Issue

Do corporations have religious free exercise rights? The Third Circuit said no. But, the Tenth Circuit said yes. Now, the losing parties from each case have petitioned the Supreme Court to address the issue.

The cases arise from an Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) provision requiring employers to provide health insurance th
at covers birth-control (among other reproductive issues). The appealing corporation from the Third Circuit frames the issue as:
Whether the religious owners of a family business, or their closely-held, for-profit corporation, have free exercise rights that are violated by the application of the contraceptive-coverage Mandate of the ACA.
You can read the details and find links to the petitions at SCOTUSblog here. Given the circuit split and the desire for SCOTUS review from both the federal government and the private sector, I think SCOTUS will take the case. We'll see though . . .

I should note that both cases involve a statute called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Only the Third Circuit petition raises First Amendment issues.