Bill SchuetteLANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the U.S. Supreme Court granted review of a pair of cases dealing with religious liberty and First Amendment freedoms. The two cases are Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. Michigan wrote the multi-state amici brief in support of the Conestoga case on behalf of Michigan, Ohio, and sixteen other states. Arguments before the court are expected to be held March 2014. Under the mandate promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), employers would have to provide insurance coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of whether it violates their religious beliefs.

“Religious liberty is America’s first freedom. I am pleased our nation’s highest court will hear arguments to defend the First Amendment for all, not just a few dictated by the federal government,” said Schuette. 

“Any rule, regulation or law that forces private job-creators to violate their free exercise of religion is a flat-out violation of the Constitution.”

Several Michigan-based businesses have filed their own challenges to the HHS mandate, including Autocam Corp, Domino’s Farms, Weingartz Supply Company, Eden Foods, and Mersino Management, all which Schuette supports.

Click here to read the brief filed by Schuette in support of Conestoga Wood:

Schuette’s efforts to challenge the unconstitutional HHS mandate are the latest in a comprehensive effort to defend religious liberty for Michigan citizens:

  • In 2011, Schuette filed an amicus brief on behalf of eight states in support of religious liberty in a significant case involving the right of religious organizations to manage their religious employees without government interference.  In January 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously (9-0) agreed with Schuette and upheld the right of religious organizations to manage their religious employees without government interference in the case Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission et al. 
  • Schuette also filed an amicus brief in support of Julea Ward, a former Eastern Michigan University student who is suing the university in federal court for violating her constitutional rights after she was dismissed from a graduate counseling program due to her religious beliefs.  On January 27, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th District agreed with Schuette that Ward had a right to trial and reversed the lower court ruling dismissing her case.  In December 2012, the university settled the case with Ward for $75,000.