Everett company has special connection to Hobby Lobby case

By Neal McNamara | March 26, 2014
electric mirror

A cutting-edge Everett technology company has a special connection to the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court battle.

The company Electric Mirror, which manufactures mirrors with built-in technology, has filed an amicus brief to the Hobby Lobby lawsuit to aid in the fight for religious freedom.

Hobby Lobby, along with the company Conestoga in a separate suit, is suing the federal government over an Obamacare mandate to provide contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs in health care plans for employees. Leaders of those companies say that the government contraception mandate violates their and their companies’ religious rights.

KTTH host David Boze spoke to Electric Mirror co-founder and co-owner Jim Mischel on Wednesday about why the company joined Hobby Lobby in the lawsuit. It turns out, Mischel and his company’s involvement in the matter is deeply personal.

“My brother [and Electric Mirror co-founder] is adopted, he was saved from an abortion clinic. We started our business on the basis that life matters to us. In our founding mission statement, it says we’re going to promote life,” Mischel told Boze. “With Obamacare, we decided we were going to stand up and do something about this.

“We decided, if we don’t stand now, when do we stand?”

LISTEN: DAVID BOZE INTERVIEWS JIM MISCHEL AND ATTORNEY SCOTT WARD

Mischel said it would be impossible for him to separate his faith from his business practices. The freedom to practice and express religion, he said, applies to him and every action he takes as a business owner.

Electric Mirror produces a number of products, including mirrors for hotel bathrooms with built-in televisions, fog-free mirrors, waterproof televisions, and lighting. Some clients include Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the Sheraton and Hilton hotel chains, and New York’s Waldorf Astoria.

The company began in a garage in Lynnwood, and their products are manufactured in Everett by skilled craftsmen.

Mischel said his employees have supported him in fighting for life-centered issues before, like helping him testify in Olympia.

Scott Ward, an attorney representing Mischel and Electric Mirror, was at the Supreme Court on Tuesday during oral arguments between Hobby Lobby, Conestoga, and the Obama administration.

Ward said he witnessed the Hobby Lobby attorney taking heated questions from liberal justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. But, the Obama administration attorney took heated questioning from justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy, who could be swing votes.

“Some of the argument focused on the fact that the government acknowledges that a corporation that’s not-for-profit can have free exercise of rights, but when a business is incorporated, the government takes a position that in some way it can’t have free exercise of rights,” Ward said.

The Supreme Court will likely rule on the matter by summer. Meantime, Mischel has no plans to change the way Electric Mirror does business.

“We don’t believe you can separate faith from the business,” Mischel said. “The reason we’re so good in our company is because we care about people.”

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