Law & the Courts

Defending Religious Liberty

The Christmas holidays can’t have been much of a break for the stalwart defenders of religious liberty at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the Alliance Defending Freedom, as they jointly filed two momentous legal papers in the Supreme Court today.

This morning, in conjunction with Stanford law professor, and religion-law expert, Michael W. McConnell, the Becket Fund and ADF filed a petition for writ of certiorari in Stormans v. Wiesman, a case in which the owners of a family pharmacy and two individual pharmacists are challenging anomalous Washington state regulations that require them to dispense the drug Plan B. The petition argues that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling blatantly violates the Court’s 1993 decision on the Free Exercise Clause in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. Hialeah and should therefore be summarily reversed. Alternatively, it calls for plenary review of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling. (I discussed this case in these posts from the district-court phase four years ago.)

Late this afternoon, former Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, together with the Becket Fund and ADF, filed the merits brief on behalf of the Little Sisters of the Poor and other petitioners in their challenge to the so-called “accommodation” under the HHS contraceptive mandate. The brief argues that the accommodation violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. (I have written extensively about these and other challenges and will continue to do so.)

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