June 30, 2014 11:12AM

Of Course Government Can’t Violate Religious Liberty for No Good Reason

Hobby Lobby is a much simpler and less important case than it’s been made out to be, for reasons the Court clearly spelled out today. Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate had to fall under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (without even getting to the First Amendment) because it didn’t show — couldn’t show — that there’s no other way of achieving its goal without violating religious beliefs. Moreover, the fact that a for‐​profit corporation is asserting the statute’s protections is of no moment because neither the corporate form nor the profit motive undermines RFRA’s solicitude for the rights of humans — including owners, officers, and shareholders. In short, the mandate fell because it was a rights‐​busting government compulsion that lacked sufficient justification. Nobody has been denied access to contraceptives and there’s now more freedom for all Americans to live their lives how they want, without checking their freedom at the office door. 

For more on how the “corporate rights” issue in the case was really a misnomer — because the free exercise of individual humans is at issue regardless of how you style the legalese — see Cato’s amicus brief