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Justice Sotomayor Denies Hobby Lobby Emergency Appeal

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

Justice Sonia Sotomayor took a break from her holiday downtime last week to deny a Christian retailer's pleas for protection from the federal government.

In an order issued last Wednesday, Sotomayor said that Hobby Lobby -- Oklahoma City billionaire David Green's for-profit company -- did not qualify for an injunction from the Affordable Care Act birth control mandate while the family challenges the requirement in court, Reuters reports.

The Green famly wants to be exempted from providing the "morning after" and "week after" pills on religious grounds, arguing this would violate their Christian belief that abortion is wrong, Reuters reports. It has asked both the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court to enjoin the law.

Last Thursday, the Tenth Circuit denied the crafty chain's motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that Hobby Lobby failed to demonstrate "entitlement to such relief." Hobby Lobby filed an appeal with the Supreme Court in Friday, which was promptly rejected. Justice Sotomayor, who hears emergency appeals from the Tenth Circuit, said it was not "indisputably clear" that Hobby Lobby deserved an injunction, Reuters reports.

To obtain a preliminary injunction, Hobby Lobby had to show:

  1. Substantial likelihood of success on the merits,
  2. Irreparable injury will result if the injunction does not issue,
  3. The threatened injury outweighs any damage the injunction may cause the opposing party, and
  4. The injunction would not be adverse to the public interest.

The Greens describe themselves as "evangelical Christians," and stated in their petition that they believe they are "obligated to run their businesses in accordance with their faith." If the company doesn't comply with the Act, the fines could add up to $1.3 million a day, Fox News reports.

The threat of fines, however, was not enough to justify an injunction.

In denying emergency action, Justice Sotomayor wrote, "Even without an injunction pending appeal, the applicants may continue their challenge to the regulations in the lower courts," and -- following a final judgment -- ask the Supreme Court at that time to consider their appeal, Reuters reports.

Hobby Lobby currently operates over 500 stores in over 40 states with over 13,000 full-time employees.

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