Supreme Court Upholds Constitutional Protection For Freedom of Religion

Contact: Joy Yearout 517-373-8060

June 30, 2014

 LANSING - Attorney General Bill Schuette today praised a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold constitutional protections for Freedom of Religion regarding a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that required employers to pay for abortion-inducing drugs regardless of whether it violates their religious beliefs.  

 "Today, the nation's highest court has upheld the religious liberties and freedoms of individuals across this land.  As Justice Kennedy stated today, ‘Among the reasons that the United States is so open, so tolerant, and so free is that no person may be restricted or demeaned by government in exercising his or her religion,'" stated Schuette.

The consolidated cases are Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell.

Schuette noted that Chief Justice Roberts along with Justices Alito and Scalia acknowledged the constitutional protection of the People's Freedom of Religion in the ruling:

The owners of the businesses have religious objections to abortion…If the owners comply with the HHS mandate, they believe they will be facilitating abortions, and if they do not comply, they will pay a very heavy price—as much as $1.3 million per day, or about $475 million per year, in the case of one of the companies. If these consequences do not amount to a substantial burden, it is hard to see what would, (Court Opinion, pg. 2).

                Schuette added, "Today's ruling is positive news for Michigan businesses with legal challenges similar to today's decision.  We will continue to support their efforts to preserve their constitutional right to religious liberty."