Little Sisters of the Poor Seek Justice Before Federal Court
Melinda Skea 202-349-7224 email@example.com
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily protected the Little Sisters from the mandate. The Little Sisters are now before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to extend that protection, and will file their opening brief later today.
“We are thrilled the Supreme Court temporarily protected the Little Sisters from having to violate their conscience or pay crippling IRS fines. We are hopeful the Tenth Circuit will give them more lasting protection,” said Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel at Becket and lead counsel for Little Sisters of the Poor. “The federal government is a massive entity that has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people–it doesn’t need to force the Little Sisters to participate.”
The injunction from the Supreme Court provided the Little Sisters short-term protection from being forced to sign and deliver the controversial government forms authorizing, ordering, and incentivizing their health benefits administrator to provide contraceptives, sterilization, and drugs and devices that may cause early abortions. Instead, the Little Sisters simply had to inform HHS of their religious identity and objections.
Protection has been given to 18 of the 19 similar cases.
“Virtually every other party who asked for protection from the mandate has been given it,” said Rienzi.
The Little Sisters are joined in the lawsuit by their religious health benefit providers, Christian Brothers Services and Christian Brothers Employee Benefits Trust, and hundreds of similarly-situated Catholic ministries that obtain their health benefits from the same providers. The Plaintiffs are also represented by Locke Lord, a national law firm, and by Kevin Walsh, a law professor at the University of Richmond.
To date, there are currently 92 lawsuits challenging the unconstitutional HHS mandate. Becket represents: Hobby Lobby, Little Sisters of the Poor, GuideStone, Wheaton College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network, Ave Maria University, and Belmont Abbey College.
Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions—from Anglicans to Zoroastrians. For 19 years its attorneys have been recognized as experts in the field of church-state law. Becket recently won a 9-0 Supreme Court victory in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, which The Wall Street Journal called one of “the most important religious liberty cases in a half century.”
For more information, or to arrange an interview with one of the attorneys, please contact Melinda Skea, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.349.7224.