19 Democratic Senators To File Amicus Brief In Hobby Lobby Contraception Case

By:  The Huffington Post – Shadee Ashtari
Source: The Huffington Post

Nineteen Democratic senators, including Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and four other women, are filing an amicus brief Tuesday in support of the Obama administration’s contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act.

The provision is being challenged by Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts retailer that is arguing that the mandate violates the company’s religious freedoms under the First Amendment, according to Yahoo News.

"As the federal government embarks on an unprecedented foray into health care replete with multiple overlapping mandates, few issues are more important than the extent to which the government must recognize and accommodate the religious exercise of those it regulates," Hobby Lobby's attorneys wrote to the Supreme Court in October.

A June 2013 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, arguing that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to corporate entities (via Citizens United), thereby shielding Hobby Lobby founder David Green from providing insurance plans that abide by Obamacare’s contraception provision.

The Democratic senators, all of whom voted in favor of the RFRA, contend that the 1993 law does not apply to for-profit companies, characterizing Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit as a “gross misapplication” of the law, according to the brief obtained by Yahoo.

Murray, who spearheaded the amicus brief, also plans to knock Republican colleagues, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, for their opposition to the mandate during Tuesday's announcement of the brief on the Senate floor, according to Yahoo.

“Allowing a woman’s boss to call the shots about her access to birth control should be inconceivable to all Americans in this day and age, and takes us back to a place in history when women had no voice or choice,” according to the prepared remarks provided to Yahoo that Murray has planned.

The other senators who signed the brief are: Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The Supreme Court will hear the case on March 25, with a likely decision in June.