In an effort to avoid having to comply with the Health and Senior Services (HHS) abortion drug mandate, Hobby Lobby sought an emergency restraining order from the U.S. Supreme Court last month. In a brief order issued December 26th, Justice Sonya Sotomayor denied their request, stating “their entitlement to relief is not ‘indisputably clear.'” She went on to note that the U.S. Supreme Court has not addressed the specific issue being debated in the case (i.e. whether being forced to provide employee benefits in a health plan substantially burdens a private employer’s religious beliefs). She also noted that several lower courts have issued divergent opinions on the matter, making Hobby Lobby’s entitlement to emergency relief not clear enough for the high court to act.
Justice Sotomayor said that Hobby Lobby can continue its challenge to the mandate in the lower courts and can petition the Supreme Court for relief if their appeals are unsuccessful.