WASHINGTON (BP) — Hobby Lobby’s hopes for deliverance by July 1 from huge fines under the Obama administration’s abortion/contraception mandate now rest with eight federal appeals court judges.
Lawyers representing the chain of arts and crafts stores and the federal government presented oral arguments before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals May 23 in Denver. Hobby Lobby’s lawyers asked the judges to block enforcement of the controversial provision before July 1, when a mandate that could result in a penalty of $1.3 million a day takes effect for the company.
The team of lawyers for Hobby Lobby was hopeful after the arguments.
It appeared the entire court “understands that the stakes are high” for Hobby Lobby’s Christian owners, said Adele Keim, legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the company.
“We were encouraged by how engaged the entire court was during the oral argument.”
Hobby Lobby filed suit last year against the portion of the 2010 health care reform law that requires employers to pay for coverage of drugs defined by the Food and Drug Administration as contraceptives, even if they can cause abortions. The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, does not oppose all contraceptive methods, only those that have abortion-causing qualities.