(Background: this case began in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Charles W. Proctor, III of The Law Offices of Proctor & Lindsay and Randall L. Wenger initiated this suit on behalf of the Hahn family, and represented Conestoga Wood Specialties before the the District Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.)
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled 5-4 in favor of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp and Hobby Lobby today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., et al.
The decision is a legal victory for Conestoga and other closely-held, for-profit corporations as applied to religious freedom and the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The majority of the Supreme Court of the United States found that the government failed to demonstrate that the ACA’s mandate for emergency contraception is the least restrictive means of advancing its interest in guaranteeing cost-free access to birth control.
Moreover, the Court found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires that the government provide closely-held for-profit corporations objecting to a federal law the same accommodation that is provided to non-profit religious organizations.
Under RFRA, the government may not substantially burden a person’s religious freedom if a less burdensome alternative is available. Applied to the instant matter, the Court determined that the ACA’s contraceptive mandate was too restrictive on closely-held corporations whose owners object to emergency contraceptives and that an alternative to the contraceptive mandate is available.