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UT law professor available to comment on pending Hobby Lobby decision

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case, which looks at the issue of a corporation having the right to not comply with provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require it to provide contraceptive health insurance coverage for employees.



UT Professor of Law Lee J. Strang said the decision in this complex case concerning politically hot-button issues will have important implications on the free exercise of religion and how corporations operate.

“This case decides how religious people can participate in American business life,” said Strang, who specializes in constitutional law. “The tension in this case is to what extent can religious people bring their faith life and religious commitments into their business life and how that impacts others.”

The Greens, a Christian family who owns Hobby Lobby, is protesting the Health and Human Services Mandate, which they argue requires employers to go against their religious beliefs to provide health insurance with coverage of contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs.

The Greens claim the mandate violates the First Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits laws that substantially burden a person’s free exercise of his or her religion.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, Strang says it would require potential employees and customers to be more informed about potential employers and company business practices.

“America is a quilt of different belief systems and the market could accommodate non-mainstream religious beliefs, but it would be on the corporations to give notice of those beliefs and for the employees and consumers to be knowledgeable about the variety of corporations’ religious-inspired business practices,” Strang said. “For example, a consumer wishing to buy a chicken sandwich needs to know that Chick-fil-A isn’t open on Sundays. Hobby Lobby has the potential to expand the range of religiously inspired business practices like Chick-fil-A’s.”

Strang is available to talk discuss the Supreme Court case and its implications.

Media Coverage
WTOL 11 and 13 ABC (July 1, 2014)
The Blade (July 1, 2014)


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