Today the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods birth control cases, the most significant religious-freedom cases in at least a generation. The central issue — should companies whose owners have deep-seated religious objections to some forms of contraception be required to provide birth control benefits to employees under the Affordable Care Act — touches on a plethora of issues that affect women, employers, workers — in other words, almost every American.
A ruling isn’t expected until the end of June, so there’s plenty of time to do some background reading on what has been called one of the most significant civil rights issues of the day. This reading list, compiled by ProPublica’s Nina Martin, is culled from a wide range of sources across the ideological spectrum.
Here’s what you need to know about the Hobby Lobby case, The Washington Post
If you’re just looking for a quickish recap of the issues, sans political/ideological commentary, checkout this blog post by James Fuller.
Argument preview: Religion, rights, and the workplace, SCOTUSblog
If you’re interested in what legal scholars/commenters have been saying about the case, SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston is one of the most respected court-watchers out there.
Religious exemptions — a guide for the confused, Eugene Volokh
For a more right-leaning analysis of the issues, check out the writings of UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh on his old site and at his new home at The Washington Post.
Eat, Doesn’t Pray, Doesn’t Love, The New York Times; The Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Cases: Your Questions, Answered, RH Reality Check
For a more left-leaning analysis, read what the NYT’s Linda Greenhouse had to say about the case last November and what RH Reality Check’s Jessica Mason Pielko had to say more recently.
Amicus History: Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Amicus Briefs Among Record Levels, the Becket Fund
To read all 84 amicus briefs filed with the Supreme Court, The Becket Fund — the conservative legal group that has played a leading role in the contraception-mandate cases — essentially functions as Hobby Lobby Central.
Sex, Gender, and the Familiar Fight Over Religious Exemptions, ProPublica
If you want to understand the history of religious exemptions in the 60-year battle over civil and gender rights, Professor Katherine Franke, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School, has this thought-provoking Q&A with ProPublica.
In God’s Name, The New York Times, 2006
For a look at the amazingly broad reach that religious exemptions already have in American law, the New York Time’s 2006 series is eye-opening.
Disputes over birth control fuel Obamacare fight, Religion News Service
To sort out the “emergency contraception vs. abortifacient” debate at the heart of the Hobby Lobby cases, this piece by Religion News Service’s Cathy Lynn Grossman is useful.
Why Hobby Lobby should matter to gays and lesbians, Sarah Warbelow and Brian Moulton, Human Rights Campaign’s
Yes, the current Supreme Court justices are unusually outspoken about their religious beliefs, Robert Barnes, The Washington Post
Why Hobby Lobby is such a big test for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Tom Donnelly, The New Republic
How did employers get to decide what’s in our health care, anyway?, Margaux J. Hall, Slate