On March 25, the Supreme Court heard nearly 90 minutes of intense arguments about the contraception mandate and the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which is shaping up to be another historic decision this June.
In general terms, the Hobby Lobby-Conestoga Wood case involves broad constitutional issues about religious, employee and corporate rights.
Back in 2012, it was Chief Justice John Roberts who had the final word, when his decision upheld the ACA under a constitutional taxation clause.
This time, court observers watched closely as Roberts and Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy peppered Solicitor General Donald Verrilli and attorney Paul Clement with questions.
At hand were two related cases about the religious rights of corporations to opt out of the ACA’s contraception requirement: Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius.
The Court won’t be ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in these cases. But it could set a precedent that would allow some companies to opt out of the employer mandate, and let companies claim other legal exceptions as religious entities.
Joining us the evaluate the arguments are two friends of our We The People podcast series.
Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. Ilya has provided testimony to Congress and state legislatures and, as coordinator of Cato’s amicus brief program, has filed more than 100 “friend of the court” briefs in the Supreme Court.
David H. Gans is Director of the Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Citizenship Program at the Constitutional Accountability Center. David has also served as Program Director of Cardozo Law School's Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy, and as an attorney with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.
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