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Decision Day: Hobby Lobby team ‘very confident’ ahead of Supreme Court ruling

Supporters of the arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby -- the business at the center of one of this session's most closely watched Supreme Court cases -- are sounding a confident tone ahead of Monday's expected decision in their case challenging ObamaCare's so-called contraception mandate. 

The court meets for a final time Monday to release decisions in its two remaining cases before the justices take off for the summer. 

The most contentious is that brought by Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby and a furniture maker in Pennsylvania. The for-profit businesses have challenged the requirement in the Affordable Care Act that employers cover contraception for women at no extra charge among a range of preventive benefits in employee health plans. It is the first major challenge to ObamaCare to come before the court since the justices upheld the law's individual requirement to buy health insurance two years ago. 

Supporters of Hobby Lobby cite a few factors potentially leaning in their favor, including the tone of oral arguments in March and a unanimous decision last week finding President Obama overreached in making recess appointments to a labor board. 

"Absolutely, we win -- we are very confident after oral argument in March that we will prevail in this case," Hannah Smith, senior counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby, told Fox News. She suggested this, too, is a case of government "overreach." 

Citing recent unanimous decisions, she added: "We're hopeful we might see some unanimity here."   

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., also said he's hopeful the court will "uphold the rights of individuals for their expression of their religious freedoms." 

He, too, cited the ruling Thursday that Obama "exceeded his constitutional authority" in speculating that the court might deliver another blow to the administration on Monday. 

The court, though, has surprised onlookers before when it comes to ObamaCare. In the major Supreme Court challenge to the law's individual mandate two years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts cast the pivotal vote that saved the health care law in the midst of Obama's campaign for re-election. 

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., speaking on "Fox News Sunday," predicted the Supreme Court would rule against Hobby Lobby. 

"I believe that the Supreme Court will find that no business ... should be allowed to [discriminate] against women," he said. "The owner has a right to his or her religious beliefs, but that doesn't mean you get to discriminate against women if [they] have different beliefs than what the owner has." 

During arguments in March, Justice Anthony Kennedy, often seen as the pivotal swing vote, voiced concerns about the rights of both sides of the issue. 

At one point, though, he seemed troubled about how the logic of the government's argument would apply to abortions. "A profit corporation could be forced in principle to pay for abortions," Kennedy said. "Your reasoning would permit it." 

Dozens of companies, including Hobby Lobby, claim religious objections to covering some or all contraceptives. The methods and devices at issue before the Supreme Court are those the plaintiffs say can work after conception. They are the emergency contraceptives Plan B and ella, as well as intrauterine devices, which can cost up to $1,000. 

The court has never recognized a for-profit corporation's religious rights under federal law or the Constitution. Indeed, if the court did here, the Constitutional Accountability Center's Elizabeth Wydra told Fox News this would be an "entirely unprecedented step." 

But even some supporters of the administration's position said they would not be surprised if the court were to do so on Monday, perhaps limiting the right to corporations that are under tight family control. 

Both sides of the debate are gearing up for a major decision of some sort on Monday, lining up conference calls to press their points on the heels of the ruling. 

The Obama administration says insurance coverage for birth control is important to women's health and reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies, as well as abortions. 

Several justices worried at the argument in March that a decision for Hobby Lobby would lead to religious objections to covering blood transfusions or vaccinations. Prominent Washington lawyer Paul Smith said another important question is how the decision would apply to "laws that protect people from discrimination, particularly LGBT people." 

In the Hobby Lobby case, even if the court finds such a right exists, it still has to weigh whether the government's decision to have employee health plans pay for birth control is important enough to overcome the companies' religious objections. 

It is no surprise that this high-profile case, argued three months ago, is among the last released. 

The other unresolved case has been hanging around since late January, often a sign that the outcome is especially contentious. 

Home health care workers in Illinois want the court to rule that public sector unions cannot collect fees from workers who aren't union members. The idea behind compulsory fees for nonmembers is that the union negotiates the contract for all workers, so they all should share in the cost of that work. 

The court has been hostile to labor unions in recent years. If that trend continues Monday, the justices could confine their ruling to home health workers or they could strike a big blow against unions more generally. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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