Supreme Court Delivers Several Victories for Religious Liberty

Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered several victories for religious liberty and DACA recipients in recent weeks.  The one significant life-related case, however, was disappointing as the Court ended its term for the year.

By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor, recognizing the rights of religious employers and rejecting the Affordable Care Act’s attempts to mandate religious organizations provide contraception or abortifacients that go against its beliefs.

“We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision. We hope it brings a close to this episode of government discrimination against people of faith. Yet, considering the efforts we have seen to force compliance with this mandate, we must continue to be vigilant for religious freedom,” said the USSCB in a released statement.

The Supreme Court also issued its decision in the consolidated cases of Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James School v. Biel. These cases involved the right of Catholic schools, free of government interference, to choose teachers who will teach and model the Catholic faith. By a vote of 7-2, the Court ruled in favor of the schools.

Late last month, in the case of Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the Supreme Court Justices ruled to extend a tax credit scholarship to families who choose to send their children to religiously-affiliated schools in the state of Montana. The case challenged the Montana constitution’s “Blaine Amendment” which prohibited aid to religious schools. By a vote of 5-4, the Court ruled in favor of the petitioners.  

In a disappointing outcome, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that requires abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. In June Medical Services v. Russo, the Court ruled 5 to 4 to strike down the law, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the more liberal judges for the decision.

“The Court’s failure to recognize the legitimacy of laws prioritizing women’s health and safety over abortion business interests continues a cruel precedent,” the USCCB said in a released statement. “As we grieve this decision and the pregnant women who will be harmed by it, we continue to pray and fight for justice for mothers and children.”

Finally, in a huge victory for the nation’s 800,000 “Dreamers,” the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration's attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.

The DACA program has been successful in protecting 800,000 “Dreamers”- young people who arrived in the U.S. as children with their parents but without legal documentation. Qualifying recipients can obtain work permits, health insurance, a driver's license and do not face deportation.

The ruling emphasizes that the administration failed to provide an adequate reason to justify ending the DACA program.


Printer Friendly, PDF & Email