By Sean Piccoli
The federal government faces high hurdles in convincing the Supreme Court that Obamacare's contraception coverage mandate must apply even to companies that object to it on religious grounds, a health policy analyst told Newsmax TV on Thursday.
With a ruling due soon in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy at the Independent Women's Forum, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that for a number of reasons, "That's going to be a very difficult case for the government to make."
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To win, said Manning, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will have to pass a series of judicial tests under the First Amendment and the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The government will also have to explain away some of thecontraception-mandate exemptions that both HHS and federal courts have previously allowed on religious grounds.
The First Amendment test will be "a question of how does it apply to businesses," and whether groups of people in a for-profit enterprise enjoy the same protections for religious conscience as individuals, said Manning.
Then comes RFRA.
"The court will have to weigh how far the government can go [under RFRA] in seeking a compelling public interest. … And they have to ask, secondly, whether or not this is the least restrictive means to reaching that goal," said Manning.
Satisfying both criteria will be a tall order for the government, said Manning.