“A religious individual may enter the for-profit realm intending to demonstrate to the marketplace that a corporation can succeed financially while adhering to religious values,” the judges said in the ruling.
The ruling was a blow to the federal government's argument that as for-profit corporations, the companies cannot claim that the health care law is a violation of constitutionally protected religious freedoms.
In remarks from the bench on Friday, Heaton said he did not agree with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals assertion that the religious freedom of for-profit corporations is protected under the U.S. Constitution and called the appellate court's view on corporations an “exotic definition of personhood.”
“We are proceeding on the basis of political fiction that corporations have the right to exercise freedom of religion,” Heaton said.
The Federal government is considering appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.