Debra J. Saunders

Or Hobby Lobby can go against the family's deeply held beliefs because the government demands it. ?Last year, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the business a reprieve pending final resolution of the case. Both sides will be arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 25.

The government's case is simple. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli has argued that the courts cannot allow "for-profit corporations to deny employees the health coverage to which they are otherwise entitled by federal law based on the religious objections of the individuals who own a controlling stake in the corporations."

Except the government exempts grandfathered plans -- which cover 36 percent of workers -- businesses with fewer than 50 employees and churches from the contraception mandate. So why not exempt employers with deeply held beliefs?

Verrilli also contends that government has an interest in mandating "equal access" to health care for women. But it's not as if the Greens are trying to stop a female worker from using contraception; they just don't want to pay for methods they consider to be abortion-inducing.

Becket Fund senior counsel Mark Rienzi reminded me that the First Amendment sets "a limit on the government's power. It tells the government what it can't do." It explicitly starts, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Liberals, Rienzi added, should agree that "the government doesn't have the right to steamroll rights."

A month doesn't pass without the administration's issuing another exemption from a mandate previously held out as nonnegotiable. Old "substandard" individual policies? Now kosher through 2016. Individual mandate? Not so much with hardship exemptions. Why not exempt employers for issues of conscience?

Or does the Obama administration not want corporations to have a conscience?

Debra J. Saunders

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