On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. Both cases involve a challenge by small, closely held corporations to a regulation issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, often called the “contraceptives mandate,” under which companies are required to provide their employees with health insurance that covers a broad array of contraceptives, including some that allegedly may function as abortifacients. The corporations and their owners assert religious objections to this mandate, and the principal question before the Court is whether the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), which requires that the government not “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless that burden is the least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest.
To discuss the case, we have Robert Destro and Adèle Keim. Adèle Keim is counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Robert Destro is Professor of Law and Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Law & Religion at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.