The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow, March 25, 2014, in the cases of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.
The Rabbinical Council of America has joined with the Orthodox Union, the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs, and several other Orthodox organizations in the submission of an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in the pending cases of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. The cases address fundamental questions of religious liberty in the United States, and we emphatically and proudly support Hobby Lobby and Conestoga in challenging the federal government’s asserted power to compel them to act in violation of their religious beliefs. While the specific tenets at issue in the cases are not necessarily ones we share (Hobby Lobby is owned by evangelical Christians and Conestoga by Mennonites), in the great American tradition we of different faiths join together to stand up for religious freedom for all.
The government claims that simply by incorporating, an entrepreneur loses his or her right to free exercise of religion in the course of running a business. As the brief argues, this proposition is both foreign to American jurisprudence and utterly incompatible with the practice of Judaism. If upheld, the government’s position would leave Jewish storeowners unprotected against legislation requiring, just for example, that they stay open on the Sabbath, or that they sell non-kosher food. We urge the Justices to rule in favor of the companies involved, thus protecting the interests of the RCA’s constituent communities while simultaneously confirming the enduring wisdom of the United States’ legal and cultural heritage.