Former Dean and former NYIT and UT Dallas professor Gurumurthy Kalyanaram reports on the recent important US Supreme Court decisions on Affordable Healthcare Act and mandatory Labor Union membership for government employees.
Lawsuits filed by Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties led to review of certain provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act, 2010 by the US Supreme Court.
Even more specifically, the two lawsuits argued that family-owned companies should not be forced to pay for insurance coverage of its employees for contraception if it ran against their religious faith, as it did in these cases.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the petitioners holding that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. However, the ruling was strongly dissented by four of the nine justices who argued that the contraception coverage requirement was vital to women’s health and reproductive freedom.
The case is Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
In its last week of its session, the US Supreme Court also made a major ruling with regard to mandatory union membership. A lawsuit brought by eight Illinois home health care workers asked the Court to overrule a 1977 decision that declared that government employees can be required to pay fees to unions for representing them and administering their contracts even if they disagree with the union’s positions.
While declining to overrule its 1977 holding inAbood v. Detroit Board of Education, the Court ruled more narrowly that partial government employees, as were the eight Illinois health care workers, did not have to pay any fees to labor unions representing them. The majority argued that requiring part-time government employees to pay Union membership fees would be a violation of their First Amendment rights
The case is Harris v. Quinn.