The recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court has allowed American arts and crafts company Hobby Lobby to claim religious exemption from federal laws. This is the first time where a corporation, not a person, has been protected by the free-exercise of religion clause in the Constitution. Hobby Lobby opened the case when, under the Affordable Care Act, contraceptives were covered under company-provided healthcare. Challenging paying indirectly for contraceptives on religious grounds, Hobby Lobby successfully argued that doing so would be a violation of their religious freedoms. Law applicants should look to this landmark ruling to see the widespread impacts of individual supreme court cases, namely that the passing of this law means that future companies could claim exemption from federal laws on the grounds of religious freedom. HSPS applicants may use this story to think about what constitutes a ‘person’, particularly from an anthropological perspective.
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