This year, Boys’ State judges and lawyers got the opportunity to hear and argue actual cases that have gone before the United States Supreme Court. The first case, Heath and Human Services v. Hobby Lobby Corporation, was presented to determine whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), which provides that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless that burden is the least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest, allows a for-profit corporation to deny its employees the health coverage of contraceptives to which the employees are otherwise entitled by federal law, based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners.*
Below are comments from Kyle Upp (Bataan), a district judge from Gering, Nebraska.
“After reviewing the facts of the case and hearing from both sides, the court ruled in favor of the Hobby Lobby Corporation. The Hobby Lobby Corporation felt they were paying for abortions by submitting to four of the twenty contraceptive mandates under the Affordable Care Act. The Hobby Lobby Corporation therefore refused to submit to these mandates. The law to be interpreted was the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. This act states that the US Government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion”. HHS failed to convince the court that the Hobby Lobby Corporation is not considered a ‘person’. Because the Green family owns 80% of the Hobby Lobby Corporation and the Green family is composed of four main individuals, they are covered under the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act and have the right to refuse the four contraceptive mandates.”