Monday’s Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case has reignited a fierce debate over the rights of corporations and the rights of their employees to access contraception. But despite the back-and-forth, one legal expert says the ruling does address both sides.
"You’ll never learn this from the partisan rhetoric on both sides, but the court found a win-win solution,” said University of Virginia Law Professor Douglas Laycock. "Women will get the contraception for free, and Hobby Lobby doesn’t have to pay for it. That’s the most important thing in this decision and you have to read down into the 15th paragraph in most stories to find it, if you find it at all."
The 5-4 ruling, decided largely along partisan lines, allows corporations like craft supply chain Hobby Lobby to use religious objections to opt out of paying for contraception under the Affordable Care Act. Laycock, an expert on religious liberty who has argued several times before the nation's high court, says both sides are overstating what the outcome of the case really means.
"I think the losers are embellishing the most, but you know the court didn’t say that employers have this right if the consequence is that employees have to do without the benefit. That’s a much harder question. They didn’t decide that yesterday,” Laycock said.
Because employees affected by the decision will still be able to access contraception, Laycock said, “this should not have been 5-4. Once they figured out the employees didn’t have to do without contraception it should have been an easy case."