I recently found a good posting at Lady (Legal) Writer that compares and contrasts the briefs from the Hobby Lobby case. Two well-known lawyers drafted the briefs: Paul Clement represented Hobby Lobby and Donald Verrilli represented the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”). Recall that the issue was whether the contraception mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The posting discusses the different approaches in the briefs in the Introduction, Factual Background, and Summary of the Argument.
For example, Hobby Lobby stated the issue narrowly in its Introduction:
On the merits, this is one of the most straight-forward violations of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act this Court is likely to see. Respondents’ religious beliefs prohibit them from providing health coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices that end human life after conception. Yet, the government mandate at issue here compels them to do just that, or face crippling fines, private lawsuits, and government enforcement. That is a textbook “substantial burden” on religious exercise under RFRA.
On the other hand, HHS did not refer to contraceptives until page six of its brief. HHS focused on the broader issue of preventive healthcare and how most Americans obtain private health insurance through their employers.
To discover more tips on legal writing and persuasion from these briefs, read the posting here.
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