- Professor Stephen Gilles, Quinnipiac Law
- Professor Andrew Koppelman Northwestern Law
On March 25, 2014, the contraceptive mandate case was argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. Hobby Lobby Stores’ owners have no moral or other objection to the use of 16 of 20 contraceptives required by the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but cite their deeply held religious beliefs in objecting to providing or paying for four others they see as possibly life-threatening. How will the Supreme Court rule? Does the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), allow Hobby Lobby a way around the ACA ‘s contraceptive mandate? Our experts reviewed the oral arguments and took questions from the audience in this Courthouse Steps Teleforum.
Based on 20 years of research, including an examination of the papers of eight of the nine Justices who voted in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, Abuse of Discretion is a critical review of the behind-the-scenes deliberations that went into the Supreme Court's abortion decisions and how the choices made by the Justices in 1971-1973 have led to the circumstances we see today in legislation, politics, and public health. National Constitution Center President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Rosen interviewed the author, Americans United for Life Senior Counsel Clarke D. Forsythe, and offered his commentary.
The controversy over the HHS contraceptive mandate has generated over 50 lawsuits, on behalf of more than 160 different plaintiffs. Most of the litigation on behalf of non-profit entities (universities, hospitals, etc.) has been on hold, awaiting the administration's planned issuance of a new final rule with an "accommodation" for non-profits with religious objections. Litigation on behalf of for-profit businesses and their owners, however, is moving through the courts of appeals, with several courts hearing arguments in May and June. To date, the for-profit businesses have won 17 preliminary injunctions, and been denied relief in 6 cases.
Mark Rienzi, who is Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and an associate professor at the Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law, discussed the current status of the cases during this teleforum. Our Religious Liberties Practice Group Chairman, William L. Saunders, introduced Prof. Rienzi and provided his commentary to Professor Rienzi’s remarks.