Hobby Lobby, the arts and craft supply stores whose Christian owners are resisting President Barack Obama’s mandate forcing employers include emergency contraception coverage in insurance provided to employees have been handed at least a temporary victory by a federal judge.
On Thursday, a federal appeals court ruled that the company had legal grounds to challenge the mandate. The appeals court indicated that there was merit to Hobby Lobby’s contention that its owners’ religious freedom was infringed by the mandate and signaled that the chain might prevail in its suit against the government, Reuters noted.
Following the appeals court ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Joe Heaton, who is overseeing Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit against the government, said that Hobby Lobby would avoid incurring daily fines while it contests the mandate. The chain, which operates 550 stores, had warned that fines against it would total $1.3 million per day, beginning in July 1.
Heaton also scheduled a hearing for July 19 so that the chain can argue for a preliminary injunction against the mandate. The company sued to block compliance with the mandate last year.
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