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Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Case: CEO Steve Green Ready for SCOTUS Hearing on Contraception Mandate Case

( [email protected] ) Mar 19, 2014 02:23 PM EDT
Steve Green, the man who started arts and crafts giant Hobby Lobby with his family in 1972, heads to court next week leaning on what got him started in the business in the first place: His Faith in God.
Hobby Lobby President Steve Green (CNS/Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Steven Green, who started arts and crafts giant Hobby Lobby with his family in 1972, heads to court next week leaning on what got him started in the business in the first place: His Faith in God.

On March 25, Green will follow his faith to the U.S. Supreme Court to witness oral arguments in the case Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.

Sebelius, on the other side of the case, is secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The department has mandated that  all Food and Drug Administration-approved forms of contraception be included among services required for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, And Green has taken public exception to that, stating that it goes against his faith.  

Hobby Lobby has provided insurance with contraception coverage for many years, paying for 16 of the FDA-approved forms, from barrier methods to pills that prevent fertilization. Hobby Lobby has not covered intrauterine devices and morning-after pills such as Plan B. Those, the FDA acknowledges, could prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb, and those specifically trouble Green.

Blocking implantation would "terminate life" Green told the Washington Post in a recent interview. "We won't pay for any abortive products. We believe life begins at conception."

"This is an issue of life," Green, the company president said in a YouTube video release. "and we can't be part of taking life."

Hobby Lobby has over 550 stores in 45 states, and employees close to 30,000 people, and the family business believes they owe all their success to God. Although his company is not the only entity that has a problem with the law, it has become the champion of the cause against it.   As of right now, if they don't comply if the mandate becomes law, they could face a fine of  $1 million a day.  

Many other suits will be affected by the courts ruling, and if lower court rulings are any indication then March 25 will be a good day for The Greens and other businesses.

According to the Beckett fund for Religious Liberty, There are 94 cases being brought against the mandate.  To date, courts have granted 52 injunctions, halting the mandate for 33 for-profit businesses and for 19 nonprofit organizations.  

Last year, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted Hobby Lobby a temporary reprieve from the mandate.

"That federal court decision said that they had a right to religious freedom and that the government had trampled on that right," said Lori Windham, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. "What's at stake here is whether you're able to keep your religious freedom when you open a family business."

Barbara Green said it's not about whether women have the right to take these drugs or not.

"We're not trying to control that," she said. "We're just trying to control our participation in it."

The Obama administration's position is that neither the owners nor the companies even have the legal grounds to challenge the mandate. 

"It's about religious freedom," said Mark Rienzi, a lawyer representing the Green family in the Hobby Lobby case. "It's about whether you give up your religious rights when you open a business.