That the Greens’ and Hahns’ free exercise was burdened was not in doubt. Hobby Lobby, for example, would have incurred fines of up to $475 million per year.
The government asserted that its mandates served important, if vague, public purposes, such as “public health” and “gender equality.” The government did not come close to proving that the mandate was the “least restrictive” alternative available.
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At the heart of the government’s case was an attempt to steamroll our varied and, yes, diverse nation into conformity on subjects that remain deeply divisive and keenly felt. Like the Affordable Care Act itself, which was railroaded through on a slender majority, the HHS regulations attempted to crush opposition even among the devout. Can you, in the name of “public health” or “gender equality,” strong-arm those with religious objections into acquiescing on abortion? RFRA threw a cloak of protection over religious expression in all its forms; and the Supreme Court, by one vote, upheld religious freedom.
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