Justice Sonia Sotomayor Will Not Block Contraceptive Mandate From Obamacare

By Amir Khan on December 28, 2012 8:49 AM EST

Sotomayor
Supreme Justice Sonia Sotomayor will not grant an injunction to two stores looking to evade an Obamacare mandate on religious grounds (Photo: Creative Commons)

Supreme Justice Sonia Sotomayor said on Wednesday that she refuses to block the Obamacare enforcement starting next week that requires some companies to provide insurance coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices. The order issued by Supreme Justice Sonia Sotomayor comes as two companies controlled by Oklahoma City billionaire David Green challenge the Obamacare requirement in court on religious grounds.

Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., an arts and crafts chain with more than 500 stores, and Mardel Inc, a chain of 35 Christian-themed bookstores, claim the Obamacare mandate violates the stores' religious beliefs by requiring them to provide contraceptive coverage and treatment plans that they say can induce abortions. If they violate the mandate once it goes into effect on January 1, they could face fines of up to $1.3 million per day.

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David Green claims the Obamacare mandate violates not only the first amendment of the Constitution, but also the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who heard the stores appeal, ruled not to block the Obamacare mandate from going into effect for the stores, saying it was not "indisputably clear" they deserved an injunction. However, she did not rule on the whether the company's religious-based claims had merit.

"Even without an injunction pending appeal, the applicants may continue their challenge to the regulations in the lower courts," she said, according to Reuters. After going through the lower courts, the stores can ask the Supreme Court to rule on an appeal.

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