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.'
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.