Hobby Lobby is an important affirmation of the aims of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But it is a narrow and in some ways precarious decision, subject to the whims of future legislators or a slight shift in the Court's current composition. And it is not a First Amendment decision. We should be glad for Hobby Lobby, but we shouldn't lose sight of the unanimous decision in McCullen, and its reminder that when it comes to the roots of our religious liberty, the First Amendment is what matters the most.
John Inazu is associate professor of law at Washington University School of Law, an expert on the First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion, and the author of Liberty's Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly (Yale University Press, 2012).
Article edited slightly to clarify that whether HHS's contraceptive mandate is "generally applicable" has not yet been specifically litigated.