Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius & Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

Summary

Following and building upon several friend-of-the-court briefs filed at the appellate level, Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reject arguments made by for-profit companies that they should be allowed to block their employees’ access to insurance coverage for contraception required by the Affordable Care Act because the companies’ owners claim birth control violates their religious beliefs.Lambda Legal submitted the amicus brief in two cases now before the Supreme Court challenging the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that FDA-approved contraception be among the basic preventive health care services included in insurance coverage provided for employeesby employers with more than fifty employees, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialities Corporation v. Sebelius. In the Hobby Lobby case, the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby’s claim for an exemption from the ACA’s contraception coverage rule, while in Conestoga, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied Conestoga’s similar claim.

History

  • April 23, 2013: Lambda Legal files amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebeliusurging the court to uphold a U.S. District Court ruling denying Conestoga’s claim for an exemption under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act from providing contraception coverage to its employees as required of large, for-profit employers by the Affordable Care Act. Versions of this brief filed in similar appellate proceedings, including:
    • Annex Medical Inc. v. Sebelius, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, April 17, 2013;
    • Gilardi v. U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Services, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, June 14, 2013;
    • Eden Foods v. Sebelius, U.S. District Court for the Sixth Circuit, July 29, 2013;
    • Domino’s Farms Corp. v. Sebelius, U.S. District Court for the Sixth Circuit, August 12, 2013; and,
    • Beckwith Electric Co., Inc., v. Sebelius, U.S. District Court for the Eleventh Circuit, October 28, 2013.
  • June 27, 2013: In Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., v. Sebelius, a case advancing similar arguments to Conestoga, an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit rules in favor of Hobby Lobby’s claim for a religious exemption from providing contraception coverage to its employees.
  • July 26, 2013: Victory! Third Circuit rules against Conestoga and denies religious exemption claim.
  • January 28, 2014: Lambda Legal files amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebeliusurging the court to reject claims by for-profit companies seeking religious exemptions from complying with ACA’s coverage mandates

Case Information

Status: Open

Attorneys

Lambda Legal

Thomas W. Ude, Jr.
Jennifer C. Pizer
Camilla B. Taylor
Joshua Johnson