Lawmakers react to high court decision

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Alabama lawmakers praised Monday’s Supreme Court decision that will allow employers with religious opposition to opt out of providing contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., said Monday she hopes the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding protection of Americans’ free exercise of religion over government mandate indicates more willingness from the judicial branch to rein in executive overreach from the Obama Administration.

“I hope this ruling helps correct the administration’s bad habit of using agency-level rule-making to interpret laws in such a way that fits its own pet policies,” Roby said. “This time they ran square into the First Amendment’s very clear protection of Americans’ free exercise of religion. However, there are many more instances in which the Obama Administration has attempted to accomplish through executive fiat what it could not enact legislatively. I hope we will see more willingness from the judicial branch to affirm the separation of powers that is so fundamental to our government.”

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., issued a statement saying, “I am glad to see that the Supreme Court rightfully recognized that religious liberties don’t end when a family owns a business.

“(Monday’s) decision is a victory for the American people and a rebuke of Obamcare’s attempt to undermine our constitutionally guaranteed right to religious freedom. I remain committed to protecting the First Amendment and will continue to advocate for the full repeal of this intrusive health care law.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that private, closely-held corporations such as Hobby Lobby cannot be compelled by the government to pay for employees’ contraceptive medication if it violates their religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court voted 5-4, with the majority citing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which prohibits the government from burdening the free exercise of religion when there is a less restrictive way to achieve its goals.