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U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear contraception mandate case

The Supreme Court agreed [1] today to hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate in two cases, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby [2]and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. [3]

Salon summarized [4] the dispute at the heart of both cases:

The owners of Hobby Lobby, a chain of crafts stores that plays religious music for shoppers, provides employees free “spiritual counseling” and closes down every Sunday, have been fighting tooth and nail to avoid providing their employees with the comprehensive reproductive healthcare required under the Obama Administration’s healthcare reforms because, they argue, allowing women to determine if and and what kind of birth control to use is a violation of its religious beliefs.

Certainly the case raises questions about the limits of religious freedom. But the extent to which the Court ultimately rules against the mandate may also determine just how far the “corporation as person” analysis can go.

Caroline Fredrickson, the president of the American Constitution Society, said [5] that the case should be a “huge concern for every American, not just progressives.”  She added:

 The corporation is understood to be a separate legal entity from the people who own it. It’s always been understood as such. If the Court concludes that that Hobby Lobby is merely an extension of its owners and has the same religious liberty rights they do, then there is arguably no limit to a for-profit business owner’s power to flout any law he or she finds religiously objectionable.