Independent Women's Forum Files Amicus Brief in Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Cases
By Hadley Heath
(Washington, D.C.) – The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) has filed an Amicus Curiae brief in support of Hobby Lobby, Inc., and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., who are challenging the ObamaCare contraception mandate before the Supreme Court.
In contrast to the 56 other briefs filed in support of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, the IWF’s brief stresses the mandate’s consequences for women’s health and employment freedom rather than emphasizing religion.
The IWF, an organization that supports limited government, free-markets, and individual responsibility, opposes ObamaCare coverage mandates, both for individuals and for employer-sponsored plans. The IWF’s statement of interest argues that the HHS mandate works contrary to women’s interests and will restrict women’s flexibility to customize their compensation and benefits.
However, the main focus of the brief, written by University of Missouri law professor (and former clerk for Chief Justice John Roberts) Erin M. Hawley, is a technical legal issue: the Anti-Injunction Act. The Anti-Injunction Act was enacted in 1867 to ensure the prompt collection of taxes and to protect the public treasury. It enacts a pay-first litigate-later approach to challenge one’s income taxes.
The IWF argues that the Anti-Injunction Act is not jurisdictional and poses no bar to resolution of the critical constitutional questions at issue in the cases.
Hadley Heath, Director of Health Policy for the IWF, explained:
“This lawsuit has wrongfully been depicted as a conflict between religious employers and women, but IWF filed an amicus brief because we believe this mandate actually works contrary to women’s interests.
“IWF supports women’s choice to use or not use contraception and believes that American women already have access to various forms of birth control. If the government wants to do more to increase access, there are better – less restrictive – means than requiring employers to provide the coverage.”
“The HHS mandate will come with unintended consequences for women and for public health. By removing price competition from birth control markets, the mandate will drive up the cost of drugs for women who remain uninsured, and may decrease condom use among those who are insured.”
“This case is about much more than contraception. It is about the principles of liberty that animate our Constitution. It is about empowering women to choose the healthcare and salary options that best fit their needs. And it is about employers, many of them women, being able to follow their deeply held religious beliefs.
“IWF believes that all of these arguments should not be foreclosed solely because the penalties imposed by the contraception mandate are made payable to the IRS. The Government does not argue that the Anti- Injunction Act applies to this case. Accordingly, the defense is forfeited and poses no bar to resolution of the critical constitutional questions at issue here.
The IWF has been monitoring and keeping the public informed about constitutional challenges to ObamaCare since the law’s passage, and in October 2010 launched a Web site to track the more than 100 cases filed against various aspects of ObamaCare. This project can be found online at http://healthcarelawsuits.org
To read the IWF's amicus brief, click here.