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Lawsuit by Hobby Lobby is assertion of First Amendment rights

BY TINA KORBE Published: September 19, 2012

That's precisely why the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision classifying the Obamacare noncompliance penalty as a tax is so devastating; it makes the argument that Obamacare compels people to act against their consciences harder to make. Essentially, Chief Justice John Roberts said employers do have a choice under Obamacare: Provide employees with health insurance that meets the administration's requirements or pay a tax.

To be sure, a judge could say otherwise — and has, even since Roberts' ruling. In a case brought in Colorado by the Catholic-owned-and-operated Hercules Indus-tries, District Judge John Kane issued a temporary injunction against enforcement of the mandate. The public interest in free exercise of religion, Kane said, outweighs the government lawyers' argument that people of faith forfeit their religion when they engage in business.

Indeed it does. I hope the judge who hears the Hobby Lobby case agrees. Still, if we learned anything from the Supreme Court ruling this summer, it's that we can't count on the courts to deliver us from Obamacare. Nothing but a full repeal will restore to individuals the right to refrain from engaging in commerce, conscience-violating or otherwise.

Korbe is policy impact director at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.


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