U.S. lawmakers rally to support Oklahoma's Hobby Lobby's legal challenge

BY BRIANNA BAILEY bbailey@opubco.com Published: February 21, 2013
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Nine U.S. senators and two U.S. representatives have filed a legal brief in support of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.'s court battle against the Affordable Care Act, joining the state of Oklahoma and 10 other groups that have backed the company.

Lawmakers who have attached their names to the brief include Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa; Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Dan Coats, R-Ind.; Thad Cochran, R-Miss.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; Richard Shelby, R-Ala. and U.S. Reps. Lamar Smith, R-Texas; and Frank Wolf, R-Va.

The brief was filed late Tuesday in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, where Hobby Lobby's lawsuit against the federal government is pending.

The lawmakers all voted to enact the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, a federal law aimed at strengthening the free exercise clause in the U.S. Constitution.

The federal law is a key part of Hobby Lobby's legal argument on why it should be exempt from an Affordable Care Act mandate that requires it to cover the cost of emergency contraceptives for its workers through its employee health plan.

Hobby Lobby founder David Green and his family believe some types of emergency contraceptives, including the morning-after pill, are a form of abortion, which conflicts with the family's Christian religious beliefs.

Hobby Lobby has said it would rather face fines of up to $1.3 million a day than cover the contraceptives.

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