U.S. Supreme Court Hears Hobby Lobby Oral Arguments

Mar 25, 2014

Credit File photo

Arguments in Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act contraception mandate were heard in the U.S. Supreme Court today.

Attorneys in the high-profile case got 45 minutes each to argue their cases, more than the highest court usually allows for. University of Tulsa law professor Tamara Piety says oral arguments usually don’t do much to sway justices, but they can give the public some insight.

"Not completely 100 percent reliable, but some glimpse into what the court’s thinking by what kind of questions some of the justices ask," Piety said.

The court spent an hour and 28 minutes on arguments in the Hobby Lobby case and a similar case brought by a small Pennsylvania cabinet making company. A decision is likely still a couple months away

Piety said the outcome of the case could have broad implications for American businesses.

"The thing that’s really being debated here is whether they’re persons like human beings for all purposes for the Constitution," Piety said. "I think even some of the strongest advocates for broad corporate rights really don’t want to see that be the case."

A reporter covering the arguments for SCOTUS Blog said based on what he heard, he expects Justice Anthony Kennedy to be the deciding vote, with the other eight split four to four.