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Supreme Court Watch: HHS Mandate, Abortion Buffer Zones, Recess Appointments and More

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It is that time of the year.  The Supreme Court is concluding its term which begins on the first Monday in October and usually lasts until late June.  And, as is usually the case, many of the most-expected decisions are left for the end of the term.  Here is a list of the cases we are watching, with a short explanation of the issues involved.  We will have more analysis on each individual case once the decision is released.

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius
These are the most important opinions for which we are waiting, and we expect them last.  The issues are fundamental for our religious liberties.  The question is whether government can force a closely-held, for-profit corporation to violate the religious tenets on which the business is operated to require the corporation to provide abortifacients to its employees free of charge. These are ObamaCare cases dealing with what is known as the HHS or contraceptive mandate.  Click here for our recap of oral arguments and here for our brief in the case.

McCullen v. Coakley
In this case, the Supreme Court considers an abortion buffer zone law which makes it a crime for speakers other than clinic “employees or agents … acting within the scope of their employment” to “enter or remain on a public way or sidewalk” within thirty-five feet of an entrance, exit, or driveway of “a reproductive health care facility.”  Such a broad, sweeping law stands in clear violation of freedom of speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and we hope the Justices find it so, by sticking to the law and leaving their personal policy preferences outside the courtroom.

Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus
In 2010, the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List attempted to erect billboards to expose former-Rep. Steve Driehaus for supporting taxpayer-funded abortion by voting for ObamaCare.  In another effort to restrict pro-life free speech, SBA List was then sued by Rep. Driehaus under an Ohio law prohibiting “false statement.”  The Supreme Court should invalidate this law as applied in this case, for it is a blatant attempt to intimidate and censor free speech, just because Rep. Driehaus disagrees with the statement.  The Supreme Court has always been consistent that the answer to such charges is more speech, so let the other side put up their own billboard and broadcast their own views.

National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning
This is a very important case dealing with the separation and the balance of power between the three branches of government, especially dealing with the increasing power grab of President Obama.  As I discussed after oral arguments, the implications of this case are much broader than the technical questions presented.  Those for the most part, it deals with the definition of a congressional “recess,” when a vacancy occurs, and pro forma sessions.  More troubling than that, though, was the assertion by the government that when an old practice of the Executive is in clear violation of the Constitution, practice should prevail.

American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc.
At issue in this case is whether a company “publicly performs” a copyrighted television program when it retransmits a broadcast of that program to thousands of paid subscribers over the Internet.  Again, although the technical question of the case might not be as relevant to us at Concerned Women for America (CWA), our concern for parents and families has brought us to support cable choice and competition in programming that allows ample room for pro-family content to be easily accessible to families.  We will be watching any developments in this case and will report back to you.

Be sure to check back often for the latest news and commentary on the legal issues that matter most to our families on CWA’s Legal Studies Page, under Resources at