Decorative Scales of Justice in the CourtroomWritten by Don Byrd

Yesterday, a 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, applying the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) ruled the contraception coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act violates the religious freedom rights of closely-held corporations where the owners’ religious beliefs are substantially burdened by the requirement.

The Baptist Joint Committee’s Executive Director Brent Walker issued the following statement regarding the role of RFRA in the Supreme Court’s decision:

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed to make sure religious liberty claims are taken seriously by government. It does not dictate results ahead of time; it provides a calculus by which the courts balance religious liberty claims with the interests of the government and other citizens.

As the leader of the broad coalition that urged passage of RFRA, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty has a special stake in preserving its continued vitality. The BJC continues to support the legal standard enacted in RFRA. However one views the outcome of the Hobby Lobby case, that standard continues to serve its original purpose.

For more BJC perspective on RFRA and Hobby Lobby, see the RFRA resource page here, and I was especially interested to re-read General Counsel Holly Hollman’s previous analysis of oral arguments in the case which you can read here.

Of course there is a lot of coverage out there analyzing, celebrating and/or critiquing the Hobby Lobby ruling (you can read the opinion itself here). Below is a list of some of the more interesting takes in my opinion. Note that a link below doesn’t imply my endorsement of the views! But, they are perspectives and coverage worth taking in as you make up your own mind about the ruling. 

-My own collection of key quotes from the majority and dissenting opinions is here.
-Jeffrey Toobin argues the ruling is not as narrow as Justice Alito claimed.
-Writing for Religion News Service, Mark Silk says the opinion does not bode well for religious nonprofits waging their own court battle against the mandate.
-Interfaith Alliance Director and Baptist preacher Welton Gaddy was a guest on Rachel Maddow’s show last night and argued the ruling is a mistake.
-Church-State scholar Doug Laycock says the “law worked the way it should.”
-Harvard’s Mark Tushnet argues against RFRA.

What are you reading or watching that has helped your understanding, or expresses your opinion, about the ruling? Send it to me on Twitter – @bjcblog – or by e-mail.