Congressman Tim Griffin: Today’s Court Decisions Uphold Religious and Fundamental Rights

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement today in response to two Supreme Court decisions that 1) some employers will not be required under the Affordable Care Act to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives that may be contrary to their religious or moral beliefs, and 2) public sector unions cannot collect fees from home health care workers who object to being affiliated with a union:

“I applaud the Supreme Court for making it clear that the Obama Administration cannot force American family business owners to choose between their religious beliefs and intrusive government mandates. Further, the Supreme Court made clear what I have always believed: that organizations, such as unions, cannot force affiliation and dues on individuals without their consent. I applaud today’s rulings that uphold our religious freedoms and fundamental rights protected by the Constitution.”

Today, in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court held that certain corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women. This 5-4 decision is the first time that the Supreme Court has decided that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. Congressman Griffin is a cosponsor of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940), which amends the Affordable Care Act to declare that nothing shall require an individual to purchase individual health insurance coverage that includes coverage of an abortion or other item or service to which the individual has a moral or religious objection, or prevent an issuer from offering or issuing, to that individual, individual coverage excluding such item or service.

Also today, in Harris v. Quinn, the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision that home health care workers cannot be required to pay fees that help cover a union’s costs of collective bargaining because the practice violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who may disagree with the union’s positions. The case was brought by a group of Illinois home health care workers who said the “fair share fees” violate their constitutional rights by compelling them to associate with the union.

In January 2013, Congressman Griffin introduced the Employee Paycheck Protection Act (H.R. 175), which requires a labor organization, before imposing, collecting or increasing member or other covered employee dues or fees, to provide all employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement with written notice explaining how it calculated the share of such dues or fees related to non-political costs of collective bargaining. It also prohibits a labor organization from collecting dues or fees from non-union employees without their consent.

Congressman Griffin is an original cosponsor of the National Right to Work Act (H.R. 946) to preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities. Congressman Griffin is a cosponsor of the Employee Rights Act (H.R. 3485) to make it an unlawful labor practice for a labor organization or its agents to interfere with the rights of employees to organize and select representation to collectively bargain.