The Edmond Sun

Nation & World

January 28, 2014

Oklahoma attorney general files brief in support of Obamacare challenge

EDMOND — Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt Tuesday filed a brief in support of Hobby Lobby in its Supreme Court challenge to Obamacare.

Hobby Lobby is challenging a federal mandate requiring employer health insurance to include contraception services for drugs and devices that can prevent embryos from implanting in the womb, making it complicit in a form of abortion.

The company faces an estimated $1.3 million-a-day fine for refusing to comply.

Green has said the fines could force the company to make some difficult business decisions including closing all of its more than 500 stores.

In 1970, David Green began Hobby Lobby in a garage as an extension of a miniature picture frames company. Green has said the family had faith they would succeed if they lived and worked according to God’s word.

On the corporate website, the Green family states they are committed to: “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles.”

Tithing, the Christian practice of giving a portion of one’s income to honor God, Hobby Lobby donates more than 10 percent of its income each year to charity. Hobby Lobby stores are closed on profitable Sundays, a Christian holy day. Other stated business principles include conducting business with integrity and serving others.

Hobby Lobby, headquartered in Oklahoma City, has more than 550 stores including two locations in Edmond and more than 17,000 employees, according to company statistics. In 2009, it passed for the first time the $2 billion annual revenue mark. In April 2013, Hobby Lobby raised the minimum wage for full-time employees to $14 per hour; the federal wage was $7.25 an hour.

In July, a lower federal court granted Hobby Lobby a preliminary injunction preventing the government from enforcing the contraceptives mandate.

The Green family objects to two potentially life-terminating drugs and two devices required in Affordable Care Act employee health insurance.

In his court filing, Pruitt argued there is no basis in Oklahoma law for concluding that becoming a corporation strips businesses of religious freedoms afforded to all its citizens.

“This regulation conflicts with the most basic elements of freedom provided to all Americans — the right to practice their lawful religion how they choose,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt’s brief asks the court to find the regulation unconstitutional.

“Hobby Lobby and the Green family are grateful for the support of the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office,” Peter Dobelbower, general counsel for Hobby Lobby, said in a statement issued to The Edmond Sun. “We appreciate all those who have shown solidarity with us in this important challenge to protect religious liberty.”

In June 2013, the Tenth Circuit ruled Hobby Lobby’s beliefs were compromised without good reason under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

“We are encouraged by today’s decision from the Tenth Circuit,” Green said at the time, noting his family’s strong belief that life begins at conception. The family has no moral objection to the use of preventative contraceptives.

In November, the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases including Hobby Lobby’s. Arguments are scheduled for March 25.

The Green family filed suit in September 2012.

marks@edmondsun.com

341-2121, ext. 108

1
Text Only
Nation & World
  • A Q&A on ‘Obamacare’ Court Rulings

    On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the legality of tax subsidies being provided to people who bought “Obamacare” health insurance policies in Oklahoma and 35 other states.
    Here’s a look at the rulings’ potential impact in Oklahoma.

    Q: I’m confused. What did the courts rule today?
    A: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Washington, D.C., decided that the government can’t provide tax subsidies for Affordable Care Act plans purchased in 36 states where the federal government is operating the health insurance exchange. Oklahoma is one of the 36 states. A few hours later, the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Richmond, Va., issued a conflicting ruling that upheld the legality of the health-care law’s tax subsidies.

    July 22, 2014

  • June healthy month for Oklahoma jobs

    Nearly 10,000 new jobs in Oklahoma were created in June, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
    Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday the state experienced one of the largest increases in employment in the nation in June. More than 9,600 additional people joined the state’s workforce in June.
    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, its lowest ratio in six years. June’s rate was down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May and April, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

    July 22, 2014

  • Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it — former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns.
    “It’s always good when you go hire staff and you look at just getting the right people within your program. And, a lot of times, guys know a lot of Xs and Os, but it’s all just about developing a player,” said Strong, Tuesday during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days. “Joe and I, we’ve coached together at two different places. But just with him being within his conference and knowing the conference, he’s been a great asset.”

    July 22, 2014

  • UCO campus 3.jpg University of Central Oklahoma recognized as having friendly work environment

    The Chronicle of Higher Education named the University of Central Oklahoma as one of the “2014 Great Colleges to Work For.” Central is the only higher education institution in the state recognized on the list and one of only a handful of institutions in the nation given the distinction of being named to the Honor Roll for being cited most often among all the recognition categories.          
    Central joins Duke, Baylor and Notre Dame on the list of the 10 universities named to the large institution honor roll.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sparring justices find little disagreement at the opera

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed a different view of U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday when she described about her passion for opera, one she shares with Justice Antonin Scalia.

    July 21, 2014

  • Experts: Ukraine airliner disaster has implications for U.S. security

    Use of surface-to-air missiles by extra-military personnel to shoot down civilian aircraft may be an emerging threat to the United States, a terrorism expert said.
    On Thursday, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam and was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border. Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken — men, women, children, infants — who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine, President Barack Obama said during a statement on the conflict in front of reporters at the White House.

    July 18, 2014

  • Rabbi, UCO professor provide Middle East perspectives

    Hours after Israel launched ground operations in the Gaza Strip, the leader of a metro synagogue and a UCO professor who was raised in the West Bank shared their thoughts about the escalating conflict.  
    During the latest cycle of violence sparked by the kidnapping and deaths of three Israeli teenagers that Israel blames on Hamas, the Jewish nation launched air strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

    July 18, 2014

  • spts-OC Rhein Gibson British Open.jpg OC alum Gibson holes pressure putt on 18, makes cut at British Open

    It was the biggest putt of Rhein Gibson’s life — which is saying something for a guy who once shot a world-record 55 — and the Oklahoma Christian alum and Edmond resident responded the way he has so many times before.
    A four-time NAIA All-American while at Oklahoma Christian University, Gibson made the 15-footer for a birdie on No. 18 as darkness descended at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, capping a 2-over-par 74 and allowing him to make the cut in the world’s most prestigious tournament.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-Senior Open Josh Cook hands on hips.jpg ‘Cook’-ing up a championship golf course

    When the practice rounds began at the U.S. Senior Open July 7, the ramblings were almost non-stop.
    From the players who live at the course to professional golfers from across the ocean and diverse parts of the globe, the consensus was that Oak Tree National was in tremendous shape and the players were keyed up to compete on it.
    “The golf course is fantastic,” Oak Tree resident Bob Tway said on the first day of competition July 10. “It’s hard, but it’s fantastic.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014