Little Sisters of the Poor: 1 – Obama Administration: 0

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In a per curiam (unanimous) decision today in the consolidated case of Zubik v. Burwell,  the United States Supreme Court reversed lower court orders finding the Little Sisters of the Poor and other organizations to be in violation of the Contraceptive Mandate, and sent the cases back to the lower courts.  The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the attorneys for the Little Sisters, explains the ramifications of this decision:



WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the government cannot fine the Little Sisters of the Poor.  The Supreme Court vacated the lower court rulings against the Little Sisters, accepting the government’s admission that it could meet its goals of providing the free services to women without involving the Little Sisters or using their plan.  The Court also ordered the lower Courts to help the government choose an alternative method of providing the services that does not require the participation of the Little Sisters. (see Sister Constance’s reaction here)

“All we have ever wanted to do is serve the neediest among us as if they were Christ himself,” said Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, mother provincial for the Little Sisters of the Poor. “We look forward to serving the elderly poor for another 175 years to come.”

“This is a game-changer.  This unanimous decision is a huge win for the Little Sisters, religious liberty, and all Americans,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The Court has accepted the government’s concession that it could deliver these services without the Little Sisters. The Court has eliminated all of the wrong decisions from the lower courts and protected the Little Sisters from government fines.”

Less than a week after the Supreme Court heard the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor in March, the Court made an unprecedented move asking both sides to provide additional arguments about whether the government could find ways to distribute contraceptives without the involvement of religious non-profits and their health plans. The religious non-profits responded to the Supreme Court: “Yes.”

The government’s lower court argument was that it would deliver the services without using the Little Sisters’ plan and that there was no way to deliver these services except for the path laid out in the mandate.  But before the Supreme Court, the government admitted 1) that its current scheme was impossible without the Little Sisters’ plan and participation, and 2) that the government did have other ways to deliver the services without using the Little Sister’s plan or forcing them to participate.  These admissions changed the decision before the Court from deciding whether the Little Sisters’ religious beliefs should trump government interests to simply requiring the government to truly remove the Little Sisters from the process and protect their religious liberty by meeting government goals through one of the many options it now admitted were possible.

The government exempts 1 in 3 Americans from the HHS mandate. It also exempts large corporations such as Exxon, Visa and even the government’s own military family plan. A total of 100 million Americans are exempt from this regulation and could be eligible for coverage under the new solution chosen by the government.

“The Little Sisters won, but what this unanimous ruling shows is that there was never a need for anyone to lose,” said Rienzi. “The government will still be able to meet its goal of providing these free services to women who want them—not just for those with religious plans—but for the tens of millions in exempted corporate and government plans.”

The Little Sisters’ win was also a win for other Becket clients, including Christian Brothers Services, Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust, Houston Baptist and East Texas Baptist Universities, Reaching Souls International, Truett-McConnell College, and GuideStone Financial Services of the Southern Baptist Convention. Other parties in this case include Geneva College, Southern Nazarene University, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, and the Most Reverend David A. Zubik. All of these clients also had the adverse decisions in their cases vacated and sent back to the lower courts.


Go here to read the rest.  Go here for the text of the decision.  With Scalia gone this was the best result obtainable, and is a definite win for the good guys and gals.

More to explorer

Keeping a Promise

As faithful readers of this blog know, I was a very reluctant, and late, supporter of Donald Trump in 2016.  I grudgingly


  1. Thank God!
    And PS, I love it when Obama gets a black eye from some of the very justices he appointed.
    Iustitia Divina! 😀

  2. “…………..and renew the face of the earth!”

    Great news!

    A birthday present of sorts from our Heavenly Father hours after we celebrate Pentecost.

    This is a gift!
    A message of love from the one who is in compete control. Happy Birthday Catholic Church. Come Holy Spirit… Come!

  3. It is a gift. However, it is also a result of the struggle & suffering our Founders went through to give us a legacy of religious freedom.

    One of my dearest friends told me once that the devil always over plays his hand.

  4. Heaven, according to those who have told me that have gone their in the spirit realm (my Pentecostal background) is a very large place. And it would have to be. I am wondering if Scalia has run into any of our Founders, yet, and had a chance to discuss the Constitution with them. ?

  5. A bit off topic, but I saw a comment today regarding Trump.
    If Trump wins the presidency, it will be the first time in history that a billionaire has moved into a government owned house that has just been vacated by a black family who had to get out. 🙂 🙂

  6. The legacy of Religious Freedom is under attack in these United States. The HHS mandate and it’s coercion is unacceptable.
    SCOTUS has been fickle to put it pleasantly.
    This united decision by them, in my opinion, is a serious gift to the Holy Catholic Church and it’s smaller brothers, other Christian denominations.

    Our Founders struggle for religions freedoms was the beginning. It’s our struggle today to keep defending it from tyranny. Tyrants like Barack Hussein Obama. Tyrants in the wings like Hillary Clinton need to know that beliefs that Christians hold dear to them, the rights of the unborn to live, do not need to be changed.
    We will stand firm and fight for the helpless regardless of the tyrant of the day.

    We needed this small victory from the high Court to tell over reaching administrations that they will never define our religion. Never!

  7. While I am happy for the Little Sisters of the Poor not being forced to dispense birth control,
    I wonder about the 98-99% of Catholic women who have used birth control at one time or another, does that make Catholic women the “bad guys”?
    With that astronomically high percentage the only conclusion I can come too is that almost all Catholic women are also expressing their religious liberty. In retrospect I think the Church’s rules in some cases are a very bad joke, which has caused a huge loss of credibility. Actually the only Catholic women not practicing birth control will either be Nuns or the 1% who follow Church dogma. What does that tell you about the real standing of Catholicism in this world?

  8. First, I think the 98%-99% figure for Catholic women using contraceptives is complete and utter rubbish.

    Second, the validity of religious teachings is never a matter of counting noses. Third the bad guys are those who for cheap political advantage sought to force employers with objections to contraception to violate their consciences. Fourth, the standing of Catholicism in this world is what it has always been: the bride of Christ. That was true under the persecutions that have raged against the Church since the time of the Caesars and will be true under whatever persecutions occur in the future.

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