Supreme Court Expands Oral Arguments in Birth Control Cases

Friday, 21 Mar 2014 06:27 AM

By Jason Devaney

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The U.S. Supreme Court said Thursday it will conduct oral arguments in two cases related to birth control and Obamacare for 90 minutes next Tuesday instead of the planned hour, SCOTUSblog said.

The cases, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, challenge the Affordable Healthcare Act rule that requires employer healthcare plans to cover female employees' emergency contraceptives without a co-payment.

"A total of 90 minutes is allotted for oral argument and the time is to be divided equally," the court announced.

Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned arts and crafts retail chain based in Oklahoma, and Conestoga Wood, which makes wooden doors and other products in Pennsylvania, have sued the U.S. government saying that this portion of the law violates their religious liberty.

"Covering these drugs and devices would violate their most deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception, when an egg is fertilized," the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby, according to Talking Points Memo.

The case involving Hobby Lobby cites the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and questions whether the law allows companies to deny coverage of contraceptives under employer healthcare plans for religious reasons.

Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. asks whether or not business owners in this instance have rights based on the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Tuesday's hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. eastern time.

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