Acton Institute Powerblog

U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Autocam Ruling

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A few weeks ago, Hobby Lobby made waves when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the arts and crafts chain in its lawsuit against the Health and Human Services Contraception Mandate. West Michigan manufacturer, Autocam, has been engaged in a similar legal fight. John Kennedy, owner of Autocam, stated that his and his family’s Roman Catholic faith “is integral to Autocam’s corporate culture” and the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to provide contraceptives and abortifacients was a violation of their beliefs.

Late last year, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied Autocam’s lawsuit against the HHS department. The company’s claim was denied on the grounds that, according to that court, engaging in for profit business is  separate from any religious beliefs of owners.

On Monday August 4, The Supreme Court officially reversed the decision from the Sixth Circuit. Tom Ciesielka from the Thomas More Society, who represents the company, gave a statement:

Today, the United States Supreme Court officially vacated the 6th Circuit’s decision that denied Autocam Corporation and its owners, protection against governmental violation of Constitutionally protected religious freedoms. The case has now been sent back to the lower court, following the decision in the Hobby Lobby case, argued on comparable merit. The Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based public interest law firm, had petitioned the high court to review and reverse the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision. That ruling reasoned that conducting business for profit is somehow wholly divorced from the religious beliefs of the business or its owners. The Supreme Court’s ruling regarding Hobby Lobby invalidated the 6th Circuit’s rationale.

Hobby Lobby and the discussion of religious liberty has been a trending topic on the PowerBlog. Read some of those articles here. For more background on Autocam, see the various PowerBlog posts.

Sarah Stanley

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