Army allows three Sikh enlistees to wear beards, turbans

April 11, 2016, The Hill

“For decades, Sikhs have been excluded from serving our country because of their faith while many other countries recognize their valor and patriotism—and benefit from it,” Eric Baxter, senior counsel at the Becket Fund, said in a written statement. “The Army’s current agreement to stop discriminating against these individual soldiers is an important step, but the court should still issue a ruling to extend that protection to all Sikhs.”

Judge sides with Sikh soldier on grooming standards

March 4, 2016, The Hill

“Getting a court order against the Army is huge — it almost never happens,” Eric Baxter, senior counsel at the Becket Fund, said in a written statement Friday. “It goes to show just how egregious the Army’s discrimination against Sikhs is. Thankfully the court stepped in to protect Capt. Singh’s constitutional rights. Now it’s time to let all Sikhs serve.”

Sikh soldier sues Pentagon over grooming standards

February 29, 2016 – The Hill

“Capt. Singh is a decorated war hero. The Army should be trying to get more soldiers like him, not banning them from serving or punishing them for their beliefs. It’s time for the Pentagon to stop playing games and start doing the right thing – for Capt. Singh, for Sikh Americans and for all Americans.”

Honoring Courage

November 19, 2015, The Hill

Valladares was arrested for refusing to say four words. But he stayed in prison because he refused to sign a piece of paper that would hand moral authority to Castro’s Revolution. He stayed to defend what he later described as his own conscience, his belief in God, his own humanity and that of his fellow political prisoners.

Each year, we at Becket award the Canterbury Medal to an individual who has shown courage and strength in the defense of religious freedom. We have chosen Armando Valladares to receive this award in May 2016. After all, it is only fitting that the same year the Supreme Court will consider whether the federal government can force nuns to, among other things, sign away their faith, we honor a man who refused to sign away his because he knew that letters on a piece of paper can and do have power and meaning.

Faith firm racks up court wins

The Hill December 9, 2014

The firm launched in 1994, distinguishing itself from other legal shops concerned with religion by representing plaintiffs of all faiths.

The fund frequently touts its all-faith approach as a way to push back against critics who charge that the bulk of its time is spent defending conservative Christianity.

In addition to litigating familiar culture war fights — like the presence of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance — the fund has defended the religious practices of Muslims, Sikhs and Native Americans.

Read the full article here.

Why religious freedom for prisoners matters

The Hill October 7, 2014

The Supreme Court will today consider its newest religious freedom case, in which the question is whether a Muslim prisoner should be allowed to grow a half-inch beard. But the case also raises a simpler question: Why should anyone care?

Read the full article here.

“A Clockwork Orange” in America’s penal system:

The Hill August 14, 2014

As Luke Goodrich, Deputy General Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said: “Prisoners surrender many of their physical rights at the jailhouse door, but they do not surrender the fundamental right of conscience.”

Read the full article here.

After Hobby Lobby, what’s next?

The Hill , June 25, 2014

As a last resort, the Little Sisters, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (which also represents Hobby Lobby), filed a lawsuit challenging the contraception mandate—one of 51 suits on behalf of over 200 non-profit ministries. Although the Little Sisters make many of the same arguments as Hobby Lobby, a federal appeals court ruled against them in late December, and they filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on New Year’s Eve—just hours before the multi-million dollar fines would begin. Fortunately, the Supreme Court unanimously granted them a temporary reprieve, ordering the government not to enforce the mandate against them while their lawsuit moved forward. The case is now awaiting a decision from the federal court of appeals.

Hobby Lobby petitions Supreme Court to take up birth control mandate case

The Hill’s Healthwatch, October 21, 2013

“Hobby Lobby’s case raises important questions about who can enjoy religious freedom,” Kyle Duncan, the lead lawyer for Hobby Lobby, said in a statement. “Right now, some courts recognize the rights of business owners like the Green family, and others do not. Religious freedom is too important to be left to chance. The Supreme Court should take this case and protect religious freedom for the Green family and Hobby Lobby.”