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Local company sees victory in SCOTUS decision to stay part of Obamacare

Updated: Wednesday, January 1 2014, 07:06 PM CST
Reported by: Chris Papst

HARRISBURG -- President Obama’s signature health care law took a big hit last night in the closing moments of 2013 when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor blocked a portion of the law from taking effect.

Now a local company is optimistic that 2014 will be a good year. Conestoga Wood Specialties is one of two companies suing the federal government over the Affordable Care Act and taking its suit to the Supreme Court.  

For the plaintiffs, this is all about religious liberty. It’s a battle the Catholic Church has already won by receiving an exemption from the law. Now Conestoga Wood Specialties is hoping this decision from Sotomayor means victory is also in its future. 

“Yes, this is significant.” For Randy Wenger, and his client Conestoga Wood Specialties, 2014 started off on the right track. 

“We’re looking forward very hopefully that this is a good signal of what’s to come,” said Wenger.  In the closing moments of 2013, Sotomayor blocked implementation of the contraceptive requirement of the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare. The justice granted the request to an organization of Catholic Nuns in Denver, Colo.  

Today, the White House release a statement saying it found, “the balance of providing women with free contraceptive coverage while preventing non-profit religious organizations with religious objections to contraceptive coverage from having to contract, arrange, pay, or refer for such coverage."  

“If there’s a religious liberty concern for nuns in Colorado, you would think there should be a religious liberty concern for Mennonite cabinet makers in Lancaster County,” Wenger said.

One year ago, Mennonite-owned, Conestoga Wood Specialties filed a suit challenging the contraceptive mandate, saying it violated the company’s religious beliefs by forcing it offer certain types of birth control.

After losing in a lower court, the cabinet makers will now go before Supreme Court sometime in late March. A decision is expected in June. And what happened last night has this company optimistic. 

“When you have a conviction deep in your heart and the government is telling you you need to violate those convictions, that’s an unmanageable position for them to be in,” concluded Wenger. “If government can get away with making people violate their conscience, then there’s no firewall against what government can do – what kind of liberties it can take away from us.”

Wenger said there are more companies in Lancaster preparing lawsuits to challenge the contraceptive mandate.   
Local company sees victory in SCOTUS decision to stay part of Obamacare

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