The United States Supreme Court is set to announce its decision in the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby case, and the decision is likely to set the standard moving forward for American religious freedom.
But, how did we get from Hobby Lobby's humble beginnings to the Supreme Court? Here's a timeline of events from 1972 to now:
Aug. 3, 1972 — Hobby Lobby founded
David Green, the founder of the company, wasn’t always the American billionaire he is now. In 1970, he used a $600 loan to begin a garage business that eventually evolved into what is now known as Hobby Lobby.
Aug. 1, 2011 — U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issues new mandate
In August 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added a mandate that required most health insurance policies to cover the Health and Human Services mandate that ensured women the right to all FDA-approved contraceptive medications.
Jan. 20, 2012 — HHS adds new rule to mandate
In January of 2012, the HHS announced that non-profit employers who don’t provide contraceptive coverage will be given an extra year to meet requirements.
“Today the department is announcing that the final rule on preventive health services will ensure that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA-approved forms of contraception,” HHS said in a release.
Sept. 12, 2012 — Hobby Lobby sues over HHS mandate
The Health and Human Services mandate requires companies to provide birth-control options for their employees. Hobby Lobby, though, a Christian-owned business, opposed this view and filed suit with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma back in September of 2012.
Oct. 22, 2012 – U.S. DOJ files brief against Hobby Lobby
The United States Department of Justice filed briefs against Hobby Lobby, saying the Christian-owned company relinquished its religious rights when it became a business.
Oct. 24, 2012 — Hobby Lobby responds to U.S. DOJ
Two days later, Hobby Lobby responded to the briefs by the DOJ. In a press release, The Becket Fund’s Lori Windham, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for religious liberty, expressed her disappointment with the DOJ.
“That’s a startling and disturbing claim for our government to make. The Green family is asking to continue to live their faith by not paying for drugs that might cause abortions,” she said, according to the press release. “They’re not objecting to all forms of birth control, and they want to continue to provide good health care and good wages for their employees. But that’s not enough for the federal government. They claim that the Greens must comply — and pay for abortion-causing drugs — or pay millions of dollars in fines.”
Nov. 19, 2012 — Federal court denies Hobby Lobby’s request to stop enforcement of the HHS mandate
A federal court denied Hobby Lobby’s request to provide health insurance policies that omit coverage of contraception, saying that the religious beliefs held by the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, wasn’t an overwhelming factor in their opposition.
March 29, 2013 — U.S. Tenth Circuit grants Hobby Lobby a full court hearing
Hobby Lobby petitioned for a hearing from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and it was granted March 29, 2013. Rather than speak before a three-judge panel, Hobby Lobby was granted a full court hearing for the case.
June 27, 2013 — 10th Circuit overturns federal governments denial
In a big victory for Hobby Lobby, the 10th Circuit voted in favor of the Christian-owned retailer and overturned the federal court’s denial that was ruled in November of 2012.
Sept. 19, 2013 — U.S. appeals Hobby Lobby decision to the Supreme Court
Things didn’t slow down from there, though. The United States government appealed the decision made by the 10th Circuit and asked the Supreme Court to take the case in its upcoming docket.
March 25, 2013 — Supreme Court hears arguments in Hobby Lobby case
On March 25, the Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides in the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby case. The arguments went on for 90 minutes, according to Mark Kellner of Deseret News National, and ended with Supreme Court justice Anthony M. Kennedy being the “fulcrum in deciding the Hobby Lobby religious freedom case.”
June 30, 2014 — Decision issued
The Hobby Lobby decision came on the last day of June, as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Christian-owned company. This now means that companies do not have to rule in favor of all forms of contraception as mandated in the Affordable Care Act.
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