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Background – Mr. Duncan began career helping individuals and organizations protect their religious freedoms by teaching con law at U Miss. Law. – Served.

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Presentation on theme: "Background – Mr. Duncan began career helping individuals and organizations protect their religious freedoms by teaching con law at U Miss. Law. – Served."— Presentation transcript:


2 Background – Mr. Duncan began career helping individuals and organizations protect their religious freedoms by teaching con law at U Miss. Law. – Served as solicitor general and appellate chief of the LA department of Justice – Met with Becket Fund individuals and joined organization as general counsel Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius – Beginning of cases where businesses built on religion sued under RFA and Free Exercise to get out of mandate – During course of lawsuit, wanted to make sure that Hobby Lobby was not a case about women’s rights or whether businesses should or should not offer contraceptive coverage. – Case about whether everyone can practice their religion freely

3 Interview Cont. How did the media play a role? – Most important thing is to make sure the media knows your point of view, not necessarily that they agree with it – Happy with how media represented case as question of religious liberty, not whether gov’t has a role in providing contraceptive coverage How did your beliefs play a role? – He believes everyone should be able to practice religion freely, but beliefs not crucial to this case


5 “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The First Amendment is applicable to the states through the 14 th Amendment.

6 Hobby Lobby argued that the plaintiffs’ sincerely held religious beliefs prohibits them from providing coverage or access to coverage for abortion-causing drugs or devices or related education and counseling. The mandate violates the religious freedoms of Green and his Family who oppose abortion and abortion-inducing drugs, including certain contraceptives.

7 Rational Basis Scrutiny: If a law is both neutral and generally applicable, it only has to be rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest to survive a constitutional challenge. Neutral: A law is neutral if its object is something other than the infringement or restriction of religious practices.

8 Hobby Lobby: The Mandate exempts some religious employers from compliance while compelling others to provide coverage for preventive services. The Court: the Mandate is neutral. To hold that any religious exemption makes a statute not neutral would be to discourage the enactment of any such exemptions- and thus to restrict, rather than promote, freedom of religion.

9 Laws burdening religious practice must be of general applicability.

10 Hobby Lobby: the Mandate is not generally applicable because of the numerous exemptions, including those for grandfathered plans and religious employers. The Court: the Mandate does not pursue governmental interests only against conduct motivated by religious belief. The Law is generally applicable.

11 The Mandate is neutral and of general applicability, so it is subject only to rational basis scrutiny.


13 The Preventive Care Mandate and the Defendants’ threatened enforcement of the Mandate violate the plaintiffs’ rights secured to them by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993

14 in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

15 The critical question was whether the mandate imposed a “substantial” burden on the Greens for purposes of the RFRA.

16 Following convictions v. Paying enormous fines

17 Direct Effect Court: plaintiffs complain of the particular burden that funds, which plaintiffs will contribute to a group health plan, might, after a series of independent decisions by health care providers and patients covered by Hobby Lobby’ plan, subsidize someone else’s participation in an activity that is condemned by plaintiff’s religion.


19 Holdings: Corporations have standing to assert both the free exercise rights and the RFRA claims of their owners when the religious beliefs of the owners and of the corporations are indistinguishable RFRA Findings: – Because the ACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate places direct substantial pressure on the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs’ religious exercise have been violated – the government, while having compelling interests in promoting public health and ensuring equal access to health care, has either 1) failed to show that the ACA contraceptive mandate will further the government’s interests or 2) failed to prove that the contraceptive mandate is the least restrictive means of achieving the government’s interest. The Government’s health care interests were outweighed by the plaintiffs’, and public’s, interest in the rights afforded by the RFRA.

20 Following the district court’s decision in Hobby Lobby, the Plaintiffs appealed and filed a motion for injunction pending resolution of appeal in the Tenth Circuit – Tenth Circuit denied the Plaintiffs’ motion for injunction Plaintiffs applied to Supreme Court’s Circuit Justice for an injunction pending appellate review – On December 26 2012, the Circuit Justice for the Tenth Circuit, Justice Sotomayer, denied the application for an injunction pending appellate review

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