Before the Hobby Lobby case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that the Christian retailer was a “person” with religious freedom and ordered the federal government not to enforce the Obamacare contraceptive mandate against it.
Under Obamacare, employers must offer employees insurance coverage that includes contraceptive pills and devises, some of which might induce abortions. Hobby Lobby, as a for-profit business, wasn’t eligible for a religious exemption. The retailer sued, and the case ended up before the appeals court.
Judge Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion. He joined the dissent in the Little Sisters of the Poor case, in which the court ruled against the religious organization.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that the Obamacare contraception mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Closely held corporations like Hobby Lobby can’t be forced to provide contraception coverage to employees.
During his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Judge Gorsuch defended his opinions in these cases.
Sen. Dick Durbin asked: “Did you stop and think when you were doing — making this [Hobby Lobby] decision about the impact it would have on the thousands and thousands if not millions of employees if you left it up to the owner of the company to say, as you told me, there is some kind of family planning I like and some I don’t like?”
Listen to Judge Gorsuch’s response: