Supreme Court Vindicates Little Sisters of the Poor Against the Abortion-Pill Mandate | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

ACLJ Profile Completion

Verified

Supreme Court Vindicates Little Sisters of the Poor

By Geoffrey Surtees1594242582045

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court has vindicated the foundational freedom of our country and the Constitution: the right of religious liberty.

In a 7-2 decision, and after nearly a decade of litigation through all levels of the federal judiciary, the U.S. Supreme Court today—once and for all—upheld the right of the Little Sisters of the Poor to follow their religious convictions. The Court upheld the Trump Administration’s regulations that grant moral and religious exemptions to specific employers that object to participating in the Obama-era abortion-pill mandate.

When those regulations were first issued, we submitted formal comments in support of the exemptions. When those regulations were challenged in courts in Pennsylvania and California, we filed amicus briefs in support of the exemptions. And when the Supreme Court decided to take this case, we filed a brief with the Court arguing that the rules are consistent with the Constitution and that the challengers didn’t have legal standing to press their claims.

Justice Thomas wrote the opinion for the majority, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh.

In sum, the Court held that “the Departments had the authority to provide [moral and religious] exemptions from the regulatory contraceptive requirements for employers with religious and conscientious objections.”

Contrary to the specious arguments raised by the state-challengers, which asserted that the government had no authority to grant the moral and religious exemptions, the Court noted that, under the Affordable Care Act, the Health Resources and Services Administration “has virtually unbridled discretion to decide what counts as preventive care and screenings. But the same capacious grant of authority that empowers HRSA to make these determinations leaves its discretion equally unchecked in other areas, including the ability to identify and create exemptions from its own Guidelines.”

While Congress could have chosen to limit the discretion of the Administration “in any number of ways,” including the authority to grant exemptions from complying with preventive services ordered by the Administration, Congress chose not to do so.

Because the Administration had the statutory authority to grant the exemptions challenged in this case, the Court did not have to decide whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires the exemptions. Nonetheless, Justice Thomas pointed out, quoting the Hobby Lobby decision, that: “RFRA “provide[s] very broad protection for religious liberty.’” Justice Thomas also opined that it “is clear from the face of the statute that the contraceptive mandate is capable of violating RFRA.”

After years of litigating for their religious civil liberties, the concluding words of the Court’s opinion is an answer to the prayers of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and everyone who has joined them in those prayers:

For over 150 years, the Little Sisters have engaged in faithful service and sacrifice, motivated by a religious calling to surrender all for the sake of their brother. “[T]hey commit to constantly living out a witness that proclaims the unique, inviolable dignity of every person, particularly those whom others regard as weak or worthless.” But for the past seven years, they—like many other religious objectors who have participated in the litigation and rulemakings leading up to today’s decision— have had to fight for the ability to continue in their noble work without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs. After two decisions from this Court and multiple failed regulatory attempts, the Federal Government has arrived at a solution that exempts the Little Sisters from the source of their complicity-based concerns—the administratively imposed contraceptive mandate.

We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. . . . Therefore, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the cases for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

It’s been a long and winding road, but the Little Sisters have finally made it home. They can now continue to follow their mission of caring for the elderly poor without governmental coercion to violate their religious principles.

The ACLJ successfully represented a total of thirty-two individuals and for-profit corporations in seven different legal actions challenging the abortion-pill mandate.

We were successful before three federal courts of appeal (the Seventh, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits), and obtained a Supreme Court ruling in our favor. In fact, the ACLJ filed the first lawsuit against the Mandate in federal court on behalf of a for-profit employer.

Today’s decision is a resounding victory for religious freedom: for the Little Sisters of the Poor, and for each one of us.

Defeat the Abortion-Pill Mandate’s Assault on Liberty

ObamaCare  Signatures

LOGIN

Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from ACLJ.

$20
$40
$60
$120
$240
Make this a monthly tax-deductible gift.

As we take crucial legal action at the Supreme Court to defeat the abortion-pill mandate’s assault on religious liberty, have your urgently needed Tax-Deductible gift DOUBLED today. Have your gift doubled through our Matching Challenge.

Email Address is required.
First Name is required.
Last Name is required.
Credit Card Number is required.
Verification Code is required.
Expiration Month is required.
Expiration Year is required.
Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from ACLJ.
Encourage your friends to sign and donate by sharing this petition.
Latest in
ObamaCare

Urging the Supreme Court to Strike Down Key Portions of ObamaCare

By Laura Hernandez1594221409354

Last week, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States, urging the Court to affirm a Fifth Circuit decision holding the individual mandate unconstitutional. As you probably remember, the individual mandate required millions of...

read more

ACLJ Files at Supreme Court to Defeat Abortion-Pill Mandate

By Geoffrey Surtees1583790229750

Today, the ACLJ filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Trump Administration and their efforts to defend religious employers that object to the abortion-pill mandate. The brief was submitted on behalf of over 463,000 ACLJ...

read more

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear ObamaCare Case for 3rd Time

By Jordan Sekulow1583273806588

This could finally be the death knell for ObamaCare. The Supreme Court just agreed to hear a THIRD major challenge to ObamaCare, aka the Affordable Care Act, after a group of conservative-led states argued that the law is now, at least in part, unconstitutional. As reported by Fox News : The U.S.

read more

JSL: ObamaCare Survival Back at the Supreme Court

By Jordan Sekulow1583189623062

ObamaCare is heading back to the Supreme Court in a case that could be the final blow to the Affordable Care Act. On today’s Jay Sekulow Live we discussed ObamaCare heading back to the Supreme Court. With tomorrow being Super Tuesday, we also provided updated analysis on the race for the Democrat...

read more