UPDATE: Colorado politicians are busy giving their opinions on the ruling. The best line we've seen thus far is from Democrat Andrew Romanoff, whose statement begins, "Five men made the wrong call for millions of women."
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that closely held companies cannot be required to pay to cover some types of contraceptives for their employees, ending its term with a narrow legal and political setback for a controversial part of President Barack Obama's health care reform law.
In a 5-4 decision, the high court's conservatives essentially ruled that some for-profit corporations have religious rights.
The owners of Hobby Lobby, furniture maker Conestoga Wood Specialties and Christian bookseller Mardel argued that the Affordable Care Act violates the First Amendment and other federal laws protecting religious freedom because it requires them to provide coverage for contraceptives like the "morning-after pill," which the companies consider tantamount to abortion.
We'll leave it to others to discuss the legal implications of today's highly-anticipated decision from the Supreme Court. But from a Colorado politics perspective, this ruling could have a very real impact on the 2014 election.
Democratic Sen. Mark Udall was among the first Senators to respond to the decision publicly, saying via Twitter that contraceptive decisions should be between a woman and her doctor. Udall's campaign also immediately pointed to Republican Rep. Cory Gardner's history of supporting legislation to allow employers to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees. From a press release:
The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision today, which Congressman Cory Gardner applauded, gives employers the right to terminate birth control coverage for their employees. The result is similar to two radical bills cosponsored by Gardner in 2011 and 2013. Gardner’s bills gave all employers the ability to strike any medication or procedure from their employees’ insurance plans based on their personal beliefs.
“Today the Supreme Court followed Congressman Cory Gardner’s lead in putting a woman’s boss in charge of her family planning decisions,” said Women for Udall director Kim Howard. “A woman should never have to ask her boss’ permission before choosing birth control.”
The Hobby Lobby decision allows Gardner's opponents another opportunity to bring up his record on contraception and abortion issues — a record Gardner has tried hard to re-imagine for Colorado voters.