Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.'s challenge to the Affordable Care Act.
In a 22-page brief, Pruitt states that Oklahoma corporations have the right to run their businesses in accordance with the owner's faith.
“There simply is no basis in Oklahoma law for concluding that taking advantage of the corporate form strips Oklahoma businesses of the strong religious freedoms afforded to all Oklahoma citizens,” Pruitt argued in the brief. “To the contrary, Oklahoma has a long-standing tradition of using its laws to protect religious freedom rather than to deprive it.”
Pruitt filed the brief for the state of Oklahoma with the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Hobby Lobby founder David Green and family, who own the closely held company based in Oklahoma City, claim that an Affordable Care Act mandate, which requires large employers to cover the cost of emergency contraceptives, also called the morning-after pill, conflicts with the Greens' religious beliefs.
Also Tuesday, 19 Democratic U.S. senators, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, moved to file a brief urging the Supreme Court to deny Hobby Lobby an exemption from the contraceptives mandate.
The senators argue that the rights of corporate shareholders should not take priority to employees' rights to affordable access to health care. Hobby Lobby is organized as a for-profit corporation.
“No Supreme Court precedent had extended free-enterprise rights to secular, for-profit corporations,” the senators argue in the brief.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear Hobby Lobby's case on March 25.
“Hobby Lobby and the Green family are grateful for the support of the Oklahoma attorney general's office,” Peter Dobelbower, general counsel for Hobby Lobby, said in a statement. “We appreciate the encouragement we have received from so many of our elected officials, academic leaders, legal scholars and from everyday Americans in our quest to protect religious liberty.”