Hobby Lobby

When the Supreme Court ruled Monday that "closely held" corporations don't have to pay for workers' contraception, you may have assumed the decision applied only to family-owned businesses.

Wrong. An estimated 9 out of 10 businesses are "closely held."

However, some benefits experts question just how many of those companies would want to assert religious views.



For more reaction to today's ruling, we go to suburban St. Louis, where there was a grand opening of a Hobby Lobby store today - the company's 605th. Rachel Lippmann of St. Louis Public Radio talked with customers there.

RACHEL LIPPMANN, BYLINE: The ceremony started the same way every Hobby Lobby grand opening does - with a prayer from a member of the company's in-house ministry. Today, it was Winston Hackett.

For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a for-profit corporation can refuse to comply with a general government mandate because doing so would violate the corporation's asserted religious beliefs.

By a 5-4 vote, the court struck an important part of President Obama's health care law — the requirement that all insurance plans cover birth control — because it conflicted with a corporation owners' religious beliefs.

In a 5-4 decision Monday, the Supreme Court allowed a key exemption to the health law's contraception coverage requirements when it ruled that closely held for-profit businesses could assert a religious objection to the Obama administration's regulations. What does it mean? Here are some questions and answers about the case.

What did the court's ruling do?

The Supreme Court has ruled that family owned and other closely held companies can opt out of the Affordable Care Act's provisions for no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance if they have religious objections.

The owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores and those of another closely held company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., had objected on the grounds of religious freedom.

The ruling affirms a Hobby Lobby victory in a lower court and gives new standing to similar claims by other companies.



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea sitting in for Rachel Martin. Tomorrow is the last day of the current Supreme Court session. And the legal community is awaiting decisions in two big cases still pending before the high court.

One involves Obamacare and its requirement that health care plans include coverage for contraceptives, and the other speaks to labor organizing in the public sector. Joining us to set the stage on these potentially landmark cases is NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. Hi, Nina.

Oklahomans are keeping a close eye on a couple of court cases being mulled over right now.

In this week’s 23rd & Lincoln, The Journal Record’s Marie Price talks about the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals looking into Same Sex Marriage and the Supreme Court deciding on birth control and Hobby Lobby store.

You can find more of Marie’s insights on the capitol JRLR.net.

One of the most watched issues before the Supreme Court this term may turn on the question of religious freedom. But it will also likely determine how women will be able to access a key provision of the Affordable Care Act – one seeking to guarantee no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance plans.

Flickr / waltarrrrr

A federal judge has granted nearly 200 Catholic employers an injunction to temporarily prevent the U.S. government from forcing them to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives.

DrGBB / Flickr

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Steve Green's faith led him to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he's argued the nation's new health care law and its requirement that his business provide certain types of birth control to employees violates his religious freedoms.