Certainly, the Court appeared troubled at the prospect of denying both the corporation and the individuals who incorporated it all free-exercise rights, across the board.
And there was some openness to the notion that the government could find a less restrictive (of religious freedom) way to do what the Department of Health and Human Services wants here — to provide more contraception, free to women and minor girls.
I was also sorry to see that any of the justices might embrace the following circular reasoning, though I have hope a majority might escape it. The reasoning is that anytime the government invents a new entitlement via employers, employers’ refusal to provide it constitutes impermissible harm to third-parties (employees) sufficient to warrant the government’s imposition of the entitlement as a compelling state interest! Where would this end? Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer seemed to understand that it has no logical end — mandatory abortion coverage as necessary health care is a logical step! Attorney General Donald Verrelli’s argument simply noted that no such mandate presently exists, but of course he’s wrong. Several of the drugs the current mandate requires do destroy embryos, as Kathleen Sebelius has acknowledged in her testimony before Congress.
So it’s a war of slippery-slope arguments. Our side’s is much stronger, but as usual . . . the ball seems to be in Justice Kennedy’s Court.