Regulators of a Feather

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Ryan Colby 202-349-7219 media@becketlaw.org

Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2015

The problem for Mr. Soto is that he is Native American under federal law but his particular tribe, while recognized by the State of Texas, is not recognized by Washington. Under current federal regulations, it is therefore illegal for Mr. Soto to practice his faith. So with the help of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, he filed a civil suit against Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

Last year Mr. Soto won his appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Crucial to his victory was last summer’s landmark Hobby Lobby decision affirming religious freedom—another Becket case. So Fish and Wildlife has now returned Mr. Soto’s feathers, but he still can’t give the feathers to other worshippers.