High stakes at high court

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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Can the federal government force American business owners to subsidize activities they believe to be unconscionable? That’s the question before the Supreme Court today as justices hear arguments in two cases involving employers who are refusing to obey ObamaCare requirements. In one case, the family-owned Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores has agreed to cover 16 of the 20 birth-control measures required of insurance policies under the 2010 law. But the chain’s owners, the members of the Green family, refuse to cover the other four – which can terminate pregnancies in their initial stages – because their Christian beliefs strictly prohibit abortion. The Obama administration is seeking a ruling against conscience exemptions for corporations, arguing that Americans’ religious freedoms do not extend to their businesses. The other case involves a Mennonite-run cabinet company in Pennsylvania, Conestoga Wood Specialties, the owners of which are also forbidden by their faith to be party to abortion at any stage. More details here.

[Watch Fox: Correspondent Shannon Bream has the latest on the case from the Supreme Court.]

Why it matters - So why does this matter to non-business owners or to those who are not abortion activists? Simply put, the Supreme Court may take the chance to broadly redefine what the religious rights of Americans may be and whether the other challenges aimed at President Obama’s troubled law and its mandates may succeed. Of course, justices may opt to steer around the issue by narrowing the scope of their decision. But with what Americans consider their “first freedom” on the line as well as the implementation of the controversial health law, the attention on the court’s arguments today is intense.

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Chris Stirewalt
FOX News