Supreme Court's 'Hobby Lobby' Ruling Won't Resolve Suits by Religious Colleges

July 1, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the federal government may not require privately held businesses to offer contraceptive coverage that violates the religious beliefs of the owners of these businesses. While there are several lawsuits by religious colleges making cases in some ways similar to Hobby Lobby, the business by which Monday's ruling is known, the ruling was very specific about applying only to certain kinds of for-profit businesses. While some religious colleges filed briefs backing Hobby Lobby, religious college leaders and lawyers said that they expected another Supreme Court case, likely in the next year or so, would determine how religious colleges are covered by the federal health-care law.

Via email, Michael Galligan-Stierle, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, said: "As with many court decisions, this one doesn’t necessarily lend itself to quick summarization, but it appears that today’s ruling does not have immediate bearing on nonprofit, religious-based colleges. We are encouraged that the court demonstrated a respect for the freedom of citizens to live and work in accordance with their religious convictions, but will continue to confer with legal experts on the potential effect of the decision on our nation’s Catholic colleges and universities.”

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