SCOTUS to Hear Little Sisters’ Case Next Week

Photo courtesy of The Becket Fund

Photo courtesy of The Becket Fund

The time has finally come for the Little Sisters of the Poor to present their case before the U.S. Supreme Court which is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 23.

According to a brief filed last week by attorneys from the Becket Fund, a non-profit public interest law firm, they are eager to point out the glaring contradictions in the government’s healthcare mandate which already exempts one in three Americans as well as large corporations, such as Chevron, Exxon, Pepsi, and the U.S. military.

So why won’t the government exempt religious organizations, especially when the mandated services are easily obtained through the government’s own health insurance exchanges!

“The government already exempts 1 in 3 Americans from this mandate, and it has given big government programs and big companies like Exxon and Visa the freedom to decide not to comply with the mandate, even just for reasons of cost or convenience.” said Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, mother provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor. “Protecting our ability to care for the elderly poor ought to be at least as important as helping big business save a few dollars.”

She continues: “The government has ample ways to distribute these services without us—and their brief says those ways are perfectly fine for the tens of millions of people covered by all the other exemptions it handed out. I don’t understand why the government can’t just use the same systems and programs it already has in place and leave us Little Sisters to our work of caring for the elderly poor as we have for 175 years.”

The government’s case both praises the exchanges Sr. Loraine is referring to and then says they would be too hard to use by women seeking coverage for birth control pills, abortifacients, or sterilization procedures.

“The government must have been hoping the Justices wouldn’t read their whole brief in one sitting,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund and lead counsel for the Little Sisters. “They defend these massive exemptions by saying that the exchanges are great and easy to use. But then they blast the same exchanges as lousy and hard to use for any Little Sisters employee. The brief is going to give the Justices whiplash from trying to keep up with those contradictions.”

The Little Sisters of the Poor have received widespread support in their case, including from a diverse coalition of religious leaders representing Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Native American, Catholic, Protestant, and other faiths as well as over 200 Democratic and Republican Members of Congress. More than 40 friend-of-the-court briefs were filed at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Little Sisters.

The Little Sisters’ case, along with several other religious ministries, will be heard March 23. For more information about their case, visit their new website.

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