A federal appeals court on Thursday refused to shield Hobby Lobby Stores from the Obama administration's contraception mandate -- and the fines that come with it for not complying -- in a blow to the largest employer to challenge the ObamaCare rule.
In response, the Christian-owned company vowed to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
CEO David Green, who had taken his case to the appeals court after losing in a lower-court ruling, had argued that his family would have to either "violate their faith by covering abortion-causing drugs or be exposed to severe penalties."
The mandate requires businesses and organizations, with some exceptions, to provide access to contraception coverage -- Hobby Lobby was most concerned about coverage for the morning-after pill, which some consider tantamount to an abortion-causing drug. Hobby Lobby has refused to comply, while saying the fines could add up to $1.3 million a day.
"The Green family is disappointed with this ruling," Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund, the group representing the family, said in a statement after Thursday's ruling. "They simply asked for a temporary halt to the mandate while their appeal goes forward, and now they must seek relief from the United States Supreme Court. The Greens will continue to make their case on appeal that this unconstitutional mandate infringes their right to earn a living while remaining true to their faith."
If the Supreme Court takes up the case, it would only be deciding narrowly on whether to give Hobby Lobby a temporary reprieve, as opposed to ruling on the merits of the mandate itself.
There are currently more than 40 cases pending against that rule, though the Supreme Court has not yet stepped into the fray.
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