INHOFE STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT HEARING ORAL ARGUMENTS OF HOBBY LOBBY CASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments today in the case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.:

“If you restrict those of faith from applying their conscience to the world around them, then you quench the progress of freedom. It is David Green’s faith practiced in his day-to-day business decisions that led him and his family to build a successful, nationwide company. It is this same conscience that compelled Green to guarantee his employees a day off during the week so that it could be spent in their religious communities and with their families. It was also this same belief that compelled Green to care for the wellbeing of Hobby Lobby’s employees, providing hourly wages far above the national average and providing them health benefits before the federal government mandated it. The Obama Administration is attempting to write a new moral code if it is going to tell people like David Green that he no longer has the freedom to apply his faith convictions to how he operates a private business.  The case before the Supreme Court is about maintaining freedom for all, and freedom starts by preserving the freedom of religion under the First Amendment, whether it’s being practiced in a temple or public square. Today let us remember the words of President George Washington, ‘We are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious of violating the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men and to Him only in this case they are answerable.’ ”

Background           

On Feb. 19, 2013, Inhofe joined Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and 10 Members of Congress in filing a 10th Circuit Amicus Brief stating that the preventative services mandate implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The RFRA was signed into law in 1993 by President Bill Clinton after passing Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, a 97 to 3 vote in the U.S. Senate and unanimous support in the U.S. House of Representatives. The court did not accept the amicus brief. On June 27, 2013, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals returned the case to the district court with instruction to consider whether to grant Hobby Lobby a preliminary injunction. The court stated that Hobby Lobby has, “established a likelihood of success that their rights under this statute are substantially burdened by the contraceptive-coverage requirement, and have established an irreparable harm. But we remand the case to the district court for further proceedings on two of the remaining factors governing the grant or denial of a preliminary injunction.” On July 19, 2013, a federal court granted Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. a preliminary injunction against the HHS mandate. 

On Jan. 27, 2014, Inhofe joined Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and 13 Members of Congress in filing a legal brief with the Supreme Court arguing that a federal mandate requiring that women's contraception, including abortifacient drugs, be covered by all health insurance plans violates the RFRA. 

Inhofe also spoke on the Senate floor on Sept. 27, 2013, regarding the President's health care law and Hobby Lobby's stand for religious freedom, which can be viewed by clicking here. On the Senate floor, Inhofe said, "[G]etting back to the subject at hand, today, instead of having leaders who are protecting the church from government, we have leaders who believe it is government's job to impose on churches what should be universally upheld as truth. Instead of leaders who are protecting an American's freedom to practice his or her religion of their choice, they may instead be using government institutions and law to force them to do or buy things that are in very violation to their religious beliefs and conscience. That is the issue we are talking about now…  

"David's Christian faith runs deeper than his desire to have a profitable successful company. When he was faced with a decision to make more money or obey God, he chose to obey God, whatever the consequences… Recently, he was faced with a new test. It didn't come from a competitor. It came from the U.S. Government. Part of the ObamaCare law requires employers not only to provide health care insurance to their employees but also to provide free access to the pills that terminate pregnancies. David, as I do, and many others believe that life begins at conception, and offering an option to end that life would be in violation, in his case, of his moral compass as defined by his faith in Jesus Christ. As a result, he said he would rather pay the $1.3 million a day in daily fines from the Obama administration than comply with the law."

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