Groups file briefs in support of Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby court case attracts support from conservative, anti-abortion groups.
BY BRIANNA BAILEY bbailey@opubco.com Published: February 19, 2013
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The Oklahoma attorney general's office and other groups opposed to the Affordable Care Act have filed or plan to file legal briefs in support of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.'s court battle against the federal government.

Attorneys for Hobby Lobby expect as many 10 amicus curiae briefs to be filed in support of Hobby Lobby this week, said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the crafts retailer in its court case.

Federal lawmakers, theologians, law professors and other businesses that have challenged the Affordable Care Act also are expected to file briefs in support of Hobby Lobby with the court, Duncan said.

Hobby Lobby is challenging a mandate that is part of the health care law that requires the company to cover the cost of emergency contraceptives such as the morning-after pill for its employees through its employee health plan. Hobby Lobby CEO David Green and his family believe some kinds of emergency contraceptives are a type of abortion and object to covering the pills because of their family's Christian beliefs.

The federal government argues that religious freedoms outlined in the U.S. Constitution don't apply to Hobby Lobby because it is a secular, for-profit corporation.

Tuesday is the deadline for interested parties to file briefs in support of the company with the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt will file a brief in support of Hobby Lobby on Tuesday, said Diane Clay, spokeswoman for the attorney general's office.

Pruitt also has moved to sue the federal government over the Affordable Care Act. The state's lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma and challenges various details of the health care law's implementation.

“We feel in the state's lawsuit and also in case of Hobby Lobby that religious liberty and freedoms are being challenged through the Affordable Care Act,” Clay said.

The politically conservative Association of American Physicians and Surgeons also plans to file a brief in support of Hobby Lobby.

That group has monitored Hobby Lobby's court case because of the group's objections to the Affordable Care Act, said Andy Schlafly, a conservative activist and chief legal counsel for the association.

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