Press Release

Court to hear California’s attack on Little Sisters next week Appeals court to decide if AG Becerra’s lawsuit can take away legal protections Catholic nuns rely upon

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Little Sisters of the Poor will be in federal court next week defending their right to live according to their religious beliefs. In State of California v. Little Sisters of the Poor, the State of California is suing to end a 2017 regulation that gives religious nonprofits, including the order of Catholic nuns, legal protection from the HHS mandate. The HHS mandate, center of a seven-year legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court, requires employers to provide services such as the week-after pill in their health care plans. The new regulation is a result of the 2016 Supreme Court decision in Zubik v. Burwell, which told HHS to revise its rules. Yet shortly after the regulation was passed, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued to take away the Little Sisters’ religious exemption, forcing the nuns back to court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hear arguments and decide whether the Little Sisters of the Poor can get back to their vital ministry of caring for the elderly poor.

Oral Argument in State of California v. Little Sisters of the Poor

Mark Rienzi, president of Becket

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. PST

James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse
95 7th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Becket attorney Diana Verm and Mother Theresa Gertrude of the Little Sisters of the Poor will give Twitter live statements immediately after the hearing.

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Melinda Skea at or 202-349-7224. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.


Becket is a nonprofit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions and has a 100% win-rate before the United States Supreme Court. For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians (read more here).