Press Release

In court this week: Little Sisters of the Poor fight in Penn. and Calif. Courts to decide if Attorneys General Shapiro and Becerra can take away nuns’ protection from HHS mandate

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Little Sisters of the Poor will be in Pennsylvania and California federal courts today and tomorrow defending themselves from lawsuits by state Attorneys General Josh Shapiro (PA) and Xavier Becerra (CA), which threaten their ministry of serving the elderly poor. In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Trump and State of California v. HHS, the order of Catholic nuns is asking the court to protect their religious exemption to the HHS mandate, which was finalized in November, following a four-year legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court. The new rule protects religious non-profits, including the Little Sisters, from providing services such as the week-after pill in their health care plans. Yet California and Pennsylvania are suing to take those rights away, forcing the Little Sisters back to court. Becket is defending the Little Sisters of the Poor, arguing that the new rule is a sensible protection of their religious belief and is required by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The court will hear the cases Thursday and Friday and must decide whether the Little Sisters of the Poor can focus on their vital ministry of caring for the elderly poor.


Oral Argument in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Trump
Today at 9:00 a.m. EST
James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse
601 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106


Oral Argument in State of California v. HHS
Friday, January 11, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. PST
Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building & United States Courthouse
1301 Clay Street
Oakland, CA 94612


Becket president Mark Rienzi will argue both cases. Join us for a statement live on Twitter immediately after each court 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 non-profit, 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).