The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it will hear the appeal of Conestoga Wood Specialties and its owners, the Hahn family. Conestoga, a wood cabinet business, and the Hahns, a Lancaster County Mennonite family, brought suit seeking an exemption from the federal mandate requiring Conestoga to provide abortion-inducing drugs to its roughly 1,000 employees through its healthcare plan.
The Hahns have argued that the mandate violates their religious conscience. But U.S. District and Court Court of Appeals ruled against them, concluding that the Hahns' religious liberty was not violated when they were forced, against their conscience, to use their corporation to provide abortion-inducing drugs. The courts also claimed that the corporation itself lacked religious liberties.
Onward and upward
Now, due to the Supreme Court granting the appeal, the Hahns and Conestoga continue to be able to make their case. "We are relieved that the Supreme Court is hearing this matter," said Randall Wenger, chief counsel of the Independence Law Center, based in Harrisburg, Pa.
"The stakes are high because if government can force us to violate our deepest convictions, there is no stopping the liberties that the government can take from any one of us," added the attorney.
"We're hopeful that the Supreme Court will now recognize that the Hahns' religious liberties are at stake and that it will reiterate that corporations themselves possess such rights," said Charles W. Proctor, III, who argued the case in the lower courts.
The legal team representing the Hahns and Conestoga Wood has been expanded to include Wenger, Proctor, and attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom, based in Scottsdale, Ariz. No date has yet been set for hearing the arguments.