BRADENTON — On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom.
In a 5-to-4 ruling, the deeply-divided court ruled that the two companies owned by Christian families that had brought the suit – Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties – were protected by a federal religious-freedom law applied to “closely held” for-profit corporations run on religious principles. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion.
Constitutional law experts say the ruling could open a wide door for challenges from other corporations regarding laws they may claim violate their religious freedom.
In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the court had for the first time extended religious-freedom protections to “the commercial, profit-making world.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that “The court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faiths."
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