Hobby Lobby Ally Invokes the ‘Chick-fil-A’ Defense

The 5-4 Supreme Court decision Monday was applauded by a wide swath of conservative politicians and groups.

National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
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Matt Vasilogambros
June 30, 2014, 7:30 a.m.

As con­ser­vat­ives cel­eb­rated Hobby Lobby’s Su­preme Court vic­tory over Obama­care’s con­tra­cep­tion man­date, one group brought back a fa­mil­i­ar play­er in the battle over cor­por­a­tions’ re­li­gious ex­pres­sion: Chick-fil-A.

The Na­tion­al Cen­ter for Pub­lic Policy said in a state­ment the Court’s de­cision was “a vic­tory for free­dom,” and ref­er­enced the fast-food res­taur­ant to bol­ster its ar­gu­ment.

Chick-fil-A “for­goes sig­ni­fic­ant profit by clos­ing every Sunday for re­li­gious reas­ons, for ex­ample,” said Chair­man Amy Riden­our.  “If it were not pos­sible for a cor­por­a­tion to ex­er­cise re­li­gious be­liefs, Chik-Fil-A would be open on Sundays.”

Chick-fil-A’s prin­cip­al founder is a de­vout South­ern Baptist, and the res­taur­ant be­came the darling of the con­ser­vat­ive move­ment — and drew ire from the Left — after its CEO spoke out against leg­al­ized gay mar­riage.

The res­taur­ant ref­er­ence came among a chor­us of con­ser­vat­ive re­ac­tions to the 5-4 Su­preme Court rul­ing, which ex­empts cer­tain closely held com­pan­ies from the Af­ford­able Care Act’s con­tra­cep­tion man­date.

Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee Chair­man Re­ince Priebus:

This de­cision pro­tects the re­li­gious free­dom that is guar­an­teed to all Amer­ic­ans by the First Amend­ment, and we’re grate­ful the Court ruled on the side of liberty. The cent­ral is­sue of this case was wheth­er the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment can co­erce Amer­ic­ans to vi­ol­ate their deeply held re­li­gious be­liefs, and thank­fully the Court has up­held the prop­er lim­its on the gov­ern­ment’s power.

Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell, R-Ky.

Today’s Su­preme Court de­cision makes clear that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion can­not trample on the re­li­gious freedoms that Amer­ic­ans hold dear. Obama­care is the single worst piece of le­gis­la­tion to pass in the last 50 years, and I was glad to see the Su­preme Court agree that this par­tic­u­lar Obama­care man­date vi­ol­ates the Re­li­gious Free­dom Res­tor­a­tion Act (RFRA).

House Speak­er John Boehner

Today’s de­cision is a vic­tory for re­li­gious free­dom and an­oth­er de­feat for an ad­min­is­tra­tion that has re­peatedly crossed con­sti­tu­tion­al lines in pur­suit of its Big Gov­ern­ment ob­ject­ives.”¦ The pres­id­ent’s health care law re­mains an un­work­able mess and a drag on our eco­nomy.  We must re­peal it and en­act bet­ter solu­tions that start with lower­ing Amer­ic­ans’ health care costs.

Gov. Bobby Jin­dal, R-La.

The Court has made clear today that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s as­sault on re­li­gious free­dom in this case went too far — but this as­sault will not stop, in our courts, in our schools, and in the halls of power. It will take be­liev­ers who are will­ing to risk their for­tunes and pub­lic ri­dicule and the mod­ern slings and ar­rows to stand up for what’s right.

 Rep. Michele Bach­mann, R-Minn.

I am ex­tremely en­cour­aged by today’s Su­preme Court de­cision to up­hold the re­li­gious liberty rights of the Green fam­ily of Hobby Lobby. At its core, today’s de­cision was about the right of in­di­vidu­al and fam­ily busi­ness own­ers to be free from gov­ern­ment man­dates that force them to deny their sin­cerely-held re­li­gious be­liefs. Amer­ica was foun­ded on the prin­ciple of re­li­gious free­dom, and there is noth­ing more fun­da­ment­al than the First Amend­ment. This de­cision rep­res­ents a tre­mend­ous vic­tory for the ba­sic con­sti­tu­tion­al rights of every Amer­ic­an.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

Today’s de­cision is a vic­tory for re­li­gious free­dom. Re­li­gious free­dom is one of our most ba­sic prin­ciples and the very first right men­tioned in the Bill of Rights. I am pleased that the Su­preme Court has re­jec­ted the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s at­tempt to lim­it this most fun­da­ment­al of Amer­ic­an liber­ties.

Fam­ily Re­search Coun­cil

The Su­preme Court has de­livered one of the most sig­ni­fic­ant vic­tor­ies for re­li­gious free­dom in our gen­er­a­tion. We are thank­ful the Su­preme Court agreed that the gov­ern­ment went too far by man­dat­ing that fam­ily busi­nesses own­ers must vi­ol­ate their con­sciences un­der threat of crip­pling fines.

In­de­pend­ent Law Cen­ter

This case isn’t simply about con­tra­cep­tion. In­stead, if gov­ern­ment could have forced Amer­ic­ans to vi­ol­ate their most deeply held con­vic­tions, no Amer­ic­an, whatever their con­vic­tions, would have been free.”

The In­de­pend­ent Wo­men’s For­um

The HHS man­date is bad policy. It comes with un­in­ten­ded con­sequences for wo­men and for pub­lic health. By re­mov­ing price com­pet­i­tion from birth con­trol mar­kets, the man­date would have driv­en up the cost of drugs for wo­men who re­main un­in­sured, and may have dis­cour­aged con­dom use among those who are in­sured. We are thank­ful that the Court ruled today that closely-held cor­por­a­tions will not be re­quired to fol­low this mis­guided policy. 

South­ern Evan­gel­ic­al Sem­in­ary

This is a land­mark case that will have his­tor­ic­al sig­ni­fic­ance for dec­ades to come, and Chris­ti­an busi­ness own­ers as well as oth­ers of all re­li­gious faith can feel se­cure that they can run their busi­nesses with their faith at the cen­ter of all de­cisions, rather than sep­ar­at­ing their faith from their busi­ness prac­tices and policies be­cause the gov­ern­ment tells them they must act counter to their core re­li­gious con­vic­tions.”

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