Attorney General Jon Bruning applauds the decision by the United States Supreme Court to rule on a challenge to the federal health insurance law, based on religious objections.
Two lower courts have split on whether the federal government can compel corporations to provide contraception coverage in employee-health insurance plans, including abortion-inducing drugs.
Nebraska filed a brief in support of Hobby Lobby owner David Green who contends the requirement violates the Christian principles upon which he runs his business.
“The Department of Justice has said that that doesn’t matter, that they have to provide these types of services as a part of their health care plan,” Bruning tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “So, it’s really a First Amendment case. I mean, this thing’s not necessarily about abortion. This is about freedom of religion and the freedom of the Green family to run their corporation in a way that’s consistent with their religious beliefs.”
A lower court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, while another court ruled against a cabinet-making company that filed the same objection.
Bruning says it’s a very important case, because it challenges the boundaries of federal requirements.
“But, this is a piece of the Obamacare law that says every single employer, regardless of whether it violates their religious beliefs, has to provide contraceptive coverage, has to provide abortion-inducing drugs. And the Green family that owns Hobby Lobby just said we’re not going to do it, we’re not going to pay for that. We don’t believe in abortion, we’re not going to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.”
Bruning acknowledges the case presents a twist the lower courts have struggled with, whether First Amendment Constitutional protections extend to a corporation.
“The question we’re going to see here is whether or not a corporation can exist under religious convictions,” according to Bruning. “And, to me, it seems like it should be able to. If you want to start a company, you ought to be able to do it in the way your religion sees fit.”
While the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby. The 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled against a similar challenge filed by Conestoga Wood Specialties, a cabinet maker owned by a Mennonite family in Pennsylvania.
Kevin Thomas, KLIN, contributed to this article.