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10th Circuit Rejects Hobby Lobby Appeal in Contraception Case [UPDATED] E-mail
Written by Don Byrd   
Friday, 21 December 2012

The 10th Circuit has rejected an effort to halt enforcement of the contraception coverage mandate against Hobby Lobby, a closely held Oklahoma corporation. Affirming the lower court's refusal to issue an injunction, the panel agreed (pdf) that the burden the mandate places on the company's exercise of religion is not substantial enough to warrant protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That's because, the Court says, the funding path from company to contraceptive is too "indirect and attenuated."

The point of RFRA is to allow a plaintiff to protect participation in his or her own religion. While indirect funding of an employee's contraceptive use may violate the plaintiff's beliefs, it is not, the Court argued, a substantial burden like that envisioned by RFRA.

As Religion Clause points out, a Missouri court yesterday reached a different conclusion. That court rejected the argument that an indirect burden on religious exercise falls outside the reach of RFRA.

[UPDATE: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has denied Hobby Lobby's petition for an injunction.]


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