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Archive for April 2015

The Supreme Court Supports Religious Freedom Again!

A Message from the Executive Director
Friday, April 17, 2015

Dear Friends,

I find that sometimes it is good thing to take a step back and look at the big picture.

Things get put into perspective.

Take Wednesday, for instance. ​

Justice Alito issued an important order against the government’s contraceptive mandate. The order protects Catholic Charities and dozens of other ministries in Pennsylvania–many of them devoted to serving the poor. The order was very similar to the one Justice Sotomayor issued two years ago for the Little Sisters of the Poor. Essentially, each time, the Supreme Court Justices ordered the government to justify why is it threatening certain ministries with crushing fines–unless they cover certain drugs and devices–while it has exempted millions of other Americans from having to comply with the same mandate.

If this sounds familiar, it should. This is at least the fifth time in the last 2 years that Supreme Court Justices have voted to protect religious liberty. Four of those five wins were in Becket Fund cases.

There are many interesting aspects to this order.

First, one by one, our wins — in Little Sisters of the Poor, in Hobby Lobby, in Wheaton College, and in Holt v. Hobbs — are telling a true story that is becoming very tough for even the government’s best lawyers to resist.

In other words, each time we protect one of our clients and set good precedent, we are also protecting the next American who has to fight the government.

In fact, if you look at the winning brief that Pennsylvania Bishops Zubik and Persico filed on Wednesday, it relies over and over again on Becket Fund precedents.

Second, and maybe the juiciest part for us liberty nerds, is where the good guys’ brief quotes at length from the government’s brief supporting the rights of our client Mr. Muhammad in Holt v. Hobbs, the Supreme Court’s latest unanimously-decided religious liberty case. In other words, when it came to the right of Mr. Muhammad to grow a religiously mandated beard while in prison, the government went on and on about religious liberty. The good guys used the government’s words in support of Mr. Muhammad’s rights to defend their own rights. The government would not have filed that brief had it not been for the Becket Fund defending Mr. Muhammad’s case before the Supreme Court.

This shows the government’s position on the contraceptive mandate is out of step not just with Supreme Court precedent but its lawyers’ own honest assessment of what liberty really means.

Clearly, the contraceptive mandate is not about women’s access to contraception.

The mandate war is about the government forcing itself into the lives and ministries of people whose only desire is to serve the poor, the elderly, the homeless and the abandoned.

This is unfair, unconstitutional and un-American.

Thanks for your continued support.