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2020 Resolution: More Supreme Court Wins!

A Message from Becket’s Executive Director
January 24, 2020

Becket rang in 2020 grateful for the last ten years. In those ten years, we achieved six Supreme Court victories, three of them unanimous.

Now it’s a new year and we have already hit the ground running, ready to create a similarly stunning new decade’s worth of victories. We already have three Supreme Court cases granted—Our Lady of Guadalupe v. Morrissey-Berru, St. James Catholic School v. Biel, and Little Sisters of the Poor v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And there are still three more cases pending at the Supreme Court!

This week, the Court heard oral arguments in a landmark case where Becket has filed a friend-of-the-court brief: Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. The Montana Supreme Court refused to allow families to use a privately-funded scholarship program toward education at religious schools. At the heart of the case are Blaine Amendments, historically bigoted laws that allow religious discrimination—and which, as Becket consistently argues, are unconstitutional. Their negative effects are broad, affecting people from low-income and minority families to prison ministries to children with disabilities and special needs—and in the Espinoza case, a single mother who simply wants to send her daughters to a school where they won’t struggle or be bullied. As I mentioned in the Chicago Tribune this week, it’s time for this discrimination to stop.

There is no shortage of opportunities to make good law, and we are always at the ready to defend our constitutional right to religious liberty. Stay tuned—this year promises to be an exciting one!

What’s happening at Becket

Little Sisters back at the Supreme Court. The bad news? The Little Sisters of the Poor are still battling for their right to run their homes for the elderly poor according to their faith convictions. After the government followed the Supreme Court’s prior order and fixed its rules to protect the Little Sisters, activist state AGs sued to roll back those protections. The good news? The Supreme Court will hear their case again—hopefully, for the last time.

Espinoza oral arguments: Justice Kavanaugh sees “grotesque religious bigotry.” Becket’s Eric Baxter writes on the Espinoza oral arguments at the Supreme Court Wednesday, and why we hope the Court will strike down discriminatory Blaine Amendments.

Becket in the news

Religious Freedom Day: “Rights mean nothing unless we use them.” Nicole Russell’s piece in the Washington Examiner explains why religious freedom matters, and why it makes sense to have a day to acknowledge this fundamental right.

Yes, a seminary can hold its members to religious standards. Becket’s Eric Baxter appeared on CBN News to discuss Maxon v. Fuller, where Becket is representing Fuller Theological Seminary’s right to hold voluntary members of its community to religious and moral standards.

Defending faith-based adoption agencies. Becket is defending faith-based adoption agencies from lawsuits and regulations that would force them to shed their faith convictions—or shut their doors. Read this account of why faith-based agencies are critical to the current foster care crisis, and why Becket is representing a Texas archdiocese to challenge a federal regulation.

What we’re reading

White House welcomes prayer in schools. In honor of Religious Freedom Day, President Trump amended federal guidelines to encourage prayer in schools and to provide a clear process for individuals to claim that their right to pray has been violated.

Are we about to see the end of Blaine? The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board gives their two cents on Espinoza, Blaine Amendments, and whether they expect the Supreme Court to banish Blaines for good.

New federal rules will aim to remove “discriminatory regulatory burdens.” The White House has ordered nine federal agencies to amend their policies, rolling back some of the previous administration’s rules, to protect religious liberty.

Conscience Rule should stand. Becket client Dr. Regina Frost gives an impassioned defense of the federal Conscience Rule, which protects physicians from being forced to perform procedures against their beliefs.
Gratefully,

Montse Alvarado
Executive Director

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