Gorsuch Defends Hobby Lobby’s Pro-Life Values: “Sincerely-Held Religious Beliefs Cannot be Abridged by the Government”
By Steven Ertelt
March 22, 2017
Under tough questioning by pro-abortion Democrats during day two of his confirmation hearings, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch defended the pro-life values of Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor. This was the second time Gorsuch defended Little Sisters and Hobby Lobby.
Pro-abortion Illinois Senator Dick Durbin questioned Gorsuch about his role in a case defending those companies from being forced by the Obama Administration to pay for abortion-causing drugs in their employee health care plans.
In the exchange below, Gorsuch defended them saying that “sincerely held religious beliefs cannot be abridged by the government” without a very very compelling reason and that no such reason existed for the Obama Administration to make them fund abortions.
DURBIN: “I’d like to go, if I can, for just a moment, to this famous case which you and I discussed at length, Hobby Lobby. I still struggle all the way through this, and it was a lengthy decision, with trying to make a corporation into a person. Boy, did the court spent a lot of time twisting and turning and trying to find some way to take RFRA and to say that Congress really meant corporations like Hobby Lobby when they said person. It was dictionary law and so many different aspects of this. What I was troubled by, and I asked you then, I’ll ask you again, when we are setting out as that court did to protect their religious liberties and freedom of the Green family, the corporate owners, and their religious belief about what’s right and wrong when it comes to family planning, and the court says, that’s what we’ll decide it what the Green family decides when it comes to health insurance. You made a decision that thousands of their employees would not have protection of their religious beliefs and their religious choices when it came to family planning. You closed the door to those options in their health insurance, and by taking your position to the next step, to all those who work for closed-in corporations in America, 60 million people had their health insurance and their family planning and their religious beliefs denigrated, downsized to the corporate religious belief, whatever that is. Did you stop and think when you were doing — making this decision about the impact it would have on the thousands and thousands if not millions of employees if you left it up to the owner of the company to say, as you told me, there is some kind of family planning I like and some I don’t like?”
GORSUCH: “Senator, I take every case that comes before me very seriously. I take the responsibility entrusted in me in my current position very grave. I think if you asked the lawyers and judges of the 10th Circuit, am I a serious and careful judge, I think you will hear that I am. I’m delighted to have an opportunity to talk to you about that decision. As you know, in RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Congress was dissatisfied with the level of protection afforded by the Supreme Court under the First Amendment to religious exercise. The court in a case called Smith v. Maryland written by Justice Scalia said any neutral law of general applicability is fine. That doesn’t offend the First Amendment, so laws banning the use of peyote, Native Americans, tough luck, even though it is essential to their religious exercise, for example. This Congress decided that that was insufficient protection for religion. And in a bill sponsored by Senator Hatch, Senator Kennedy, Senator Schumer when he was in the House, wrote a very, very strict law. And it says that any sincerely held religious beliefs cannot be abridged by the government without a compelling reason, and even then, it has to be narrowly tailored, strict scrutiny, the highest legal standard known in American law, OK?”