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Hobby Lobby urges Supreme Court to review case against contraception mandate

Hobby Lobby [corporate website] on Monday filed a brief [text, PDF] in the US Supreme Court [official website], urging the court to review its case regarding the constitutionality of the birth-control mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder]. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) [official website] in September filed a petition [text, PDF] for a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court, after Judge Joe Heaton's July district court decision [JURIST report], which granted Hobby Lobby a temporary exemption [order, PDF] from the PPACA provision requiring carriers to offer insurance coverage for birth control. The Green family, founders of Hobby Lobby and its sister company Mardel, contend that businesses, not just the currently exempted religious groups, should be exempted from the birth control mandate portion of the PPACA if it violates the business-owners' religious beliefs. In June the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit [official website] found that Hobby Lobby and Mardel sufficiently established a likelihood of success [JURIST report] that their rights under this statute are substantially burdened by the contraceptive-coverage requirement and that they have established an irreparable harm. The court stopped short of granting or denying the preliminary injunction, however, remanding the case back to the district court for further evaluation of the two remaining preliminary injunction factors—balance of equities and public interest.

Hobby Lobby is the leading proponent for challenging the contraception mandate under the PPACA. In May Hobby Lobby requested an exemption [JURIST report] from the mandate. In February a group of nine senators and two representatives joined to file [JURIST report] an amicus brief in support of Hobby Lobby and Mardel. Last December the US Supreme Court [official website] said it would not intervene by issuing an injunction while an appeal was still pending with the Tenth Circuit, to which the Greens have responded that they would not comply [JURIST reports] with the mandate even without a protective injunction. Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated that the Oklahoma City family's religiously oriented business did not meet the requirements to allow an injunction against the PPACA's mandate. The opinion stated that the Hobby Lobby family did not meet the standard of showing that they have an "indisputably clear" legal right to an injunction while appeal is pending.

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