Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts chain currently battling the Obama administration over the so-called contraceptive mandate, has received more outside support in the Supreme Court than the government.
In a press release, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby, said amicus briefs supporting the store outnumbered those supporting the federal government’s position. Of the 81 briefs filed – one of the largest amicus brief filings in Supreme Court history – 56 were in support of the Hobby Lobby.
“The broad support shows that Americans of many faiths and backgrounds want to see religious freedom protected,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at the Becket Fund. “Religious freedom is important to Democrats and Republicans, to Christians, Muslims, Jews, and others.”
Those filing briefs in support of Hobby Lobby included a bipartisan group of Congress, 20 states, legal scholars and religious leaders.
At issue is a Health and Human Services rule from 2011 requiring employers to cover birth control and the morning-after pill without a co-pay. Religious institutions would be exempt, but business owners who ran their businesses in accordance with their faith would not.
David and Barbara Green, the owners of Hobby Lobby, sought an exemption from the rule but were denied, so they took the case to the Supreme Court.
The Green family said they had “no moral objection” to most of the contraceptives covered by the mandate, but took issue with four abortion-inducing drugs.
The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in the Hobby Lobby case and a related case on March 25. It's just one of 91 lawsuits filed against the HHS mandate.
The court has already issued a mandate exemption in a case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order of nuns.
“Religious freedom is at stake here, and we are happy to see Americans of many faiths and backgrounds unite to support the Green family,” Windham said.