Eighteen states (Ohio, Michigan, Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia) are asking the Supreme Court to hear an appeal that is brought by the Hahn family after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against their challenge to the HHS Mandate. According to the petition filed by the states:
The threshold question here is whether for-profit, secular businesses may exercise religion and therefore fall within the religious liberty protections of [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act]. It is a question that is basic to American democracy. Its answer requires this Court to return to first principles. And the answer is a simple one.
Americans may form a corporation for profit and at the same time adhere to religious principles in their business operation. This is true whether it is the Hahns operating a wood cabinet business based on their Christian principles, a Jewish-owned deli that does not sell non-Kosher foods, or a Muslim-owned financial brokerage that will not lend money for interest. The idea is as American as apple pie.
The petition states that without religious freedom, the business would be forced to violate their faith or face severe financial penalties:
Without protections for religious freedom, the HHS Mandate would force Conestoga Wood Specialties—a family-owned business that has created numerous employment opportunities—to close or to operate in a manner that violates central principles of the family’s religious faith on threat of draconian fines.
Business is not always just a matter of making the most profit:
For one thing, the decision below rests on the notion that a for-profit company may act only to maximize profits and cannot take into account matters of corporate conscience. That view contradicts traditional principles of the States’ corporations law, and interferes with their power over corporate entities.
The decision by the Third Circuit is against the trend of other circuits and courts on this same issue. Of the 37 companies that have secured a ruling on the issue of injunctive relief from the HHS Mandate, 32 of those have received a ruling in their favor and against the Mandate, while only five have not.