The court after Hobby Lobby: Religious freedom expert Brent Walker

J. Brent Walker is executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, an organization committed to “defending the free exercise of religion and protecting against its establishment by government.” Walker routinely speaks in churches, educational institutions, and denominational gatherings. He has a law degree from Stetson University College of Law and an M.Div. degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. Since 2003, Walker has also served as an adjunct professor at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.

The contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court’s ruling last summer in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby seem to have opened up a new stream of religious liberty cases. Do you expect to see a variety of cases making their way to the Supreme Court in which a for-profit employer claims an exemption on religious freedom grounds to an otherwise neutral law? Or will Justice Samuel Alito’s dictum that Hobby Lobby is just about the contraceptive mandate prove correct?

By holding that corporations are within the statute’s coverage of “person,” the Hobby Lobby decision does open the door for additional claims to be brought by for-profit employers. However, in no way does that mean that the claims will be successful.