In another blow to the President’s signature piece of legislation, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that corporations can have religious objections that allow them to opt out of the ObamaCare requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.

The 5-4 decision is the first time that the nation’s highest court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. It also means the Obama Administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.

Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling

Contraception is one of a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under the Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court two years later.

Ironically, Chief Justice John Roberts cast the decisive vote that ruled the health care law was constitutional in 2012, during Obama’s re-election campaign. But on Monday, Roberts sided with the four justices who would have struck down the law in its entirety, Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito.

Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion and the court’s four liberal justices dissented.

The court stressed that its ruling applies only to corporations under the control of just a few people, in which there is no essential difference between the business and its owners.

Alito also said the decision is limited to contraceptives under the health care law. “Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs,” Alito added.

The Supremes made this decision on two court cases that involved the former head of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Seblius, and closely-held corporations Hobby Lobby and Conestoga.

Hobby Lobby is based in Oklahoma City and has over 600 stores in 41 states, with over 15,000 full-time employees. The company is owned by the Green family, who are evangelical Christians, and also own Mardel, a Christian bookstore chain. Conestoga Wood Specialties of East Earl, PA is owned by a Mennonite family and employs 950 people who make wood cabinets.

While it’s a win for religious and health care liberty in the United States, the full repeal of ObamaCare is still a long ways away. Is this ruling the first step towards the demise of ObamaCare or just a short-term victory?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.