Tue July 1, 2014
KU Law Professor Says Hobby Lobby Impact Limited
The U.S. Supreme Court says certain employers can opt out of including contraceptives in their insurance coverage, based on their own religious beliefs. As Bryan Thompson reports, Kansas reaction to the Hobby Lobby ruling follows predictable ideological lines.
Kansas was one of 18 states that sided with Hobby Lobby in the court battle.
Governor Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt called it a victory for religious freedom. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran chimed in with similar views.
But University of Kansas constitutional law expert Richard Levy says the 5-4 ruling isn’t really about constitutional principles.
“The court didn’t say that Hobby Lobby has a constitutional right in this regard, and it did not hold that provisions of the Affordable Care Act were unconstitutional,” he says.
Levy also says the basis for the ruling is the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The decision pertains only to closely held companies—defined by the IRS as those that are more than 50 percent owned by five or fewer individuals.
Levy says the court’s ruling could give companies an incentive to either remain closely held, or buy out publicly-traded shares to become a closely held corporation