Supreme Court agrees to hear Obamacare contraception cases

Cathey Park of Cambridge, Massachusetts shows her cast signed by U.S. President Barack Obama after he spoke about health insurance at Faneuil Hall in Boston October 30, 2013.
Cathey Park of Cambridge, Massachusetts shows her cast signed by U.S. President Barack Obama after he spoke about health insurance at Faneuil Hall in Boston October 30, 2013.
Credit: Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to consider religious objections made by corporations to a provision of the 2010 federal healthcare law requiring employers to provide health insurance that covers birth control.

The so-called contraception mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires employers to provide health insurance policies that include preventive services for women that include access to contraception and sterilization.

The key question before the court is whether corporations should be treated the same as individuals when making free exercise of religion claims under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and a 1993 federal law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

One of the cases was filed by arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby Stores Inc and Mardel, a chain of Christian bookstores. Both are owned and operated by David and Barbara Green and their children, who are evangelical Christians. The administration of President Barack Obama sought the high court’s review in that case after losing before a federal appeals court.

The other case was brought by a Mennonite family that owns a company in Pennsylvania, Conestoga Wood Specialties. The company, which lost in federal appeals court, is owned and operated by Norman and Elizabeth Hahn and their three sons.

The court took no action on a third case filed by Michigan companies Autocam Corp and Autocam Medical LLC.

The cases are not a direct challenge to the mandate itself. The question is whether closely held companies owned by individuals who object to the provision on religious grounds can be exempted from the requirement.

The legal questions surrounding U.S. Health and Human Services regulations issued under the preventive health provisions of the Obamacare law have not previously been before the court. In June 2012, the justices upheld the constitutionality of the law’s core feature that requires people to get health insurance on a 5-4 vote.

The cases are Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-354, 13-356.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

Style

Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."