ON-Lion Letter

In November, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns facing tens of millions of dollars in U.S. Internal Revenue Service fines because they cannot, according to their faith, include contraceptives in their employee health plan.  This is the second time the Sisters have been forced to ask the Supreme Court for protection against the government's mandate.  The Court's decision will finally resolve the crucial question of whether governmental agencies can, wholly without legislative oversight, needlessly force religious ministries to violate their faith. 

In the case, the Little Sisters of the Poor have been represented by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C., which is substantially supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and Bradley Prize recipient Paul D. Clement.  The Sisters are also represented by the law firm of Locke Lord and University of Richmond Law School professor Kevin C. Walsh.  The Court has consolidated the Sisters' case with those of several others, including other Becket Fund clients, Houston Baptist and East Texas Baptist Universities.

"The Becket Fund is grateful that the Supreme Court has decided to weigh in on this important case," Becket senior counsel Mark Rienzi said.  "The Little Sisters spend their lives taking care of the elderly poor -- that is work our government should applaud, not punish.  The Little Sisters should not have to fight their own government to get an exemption it has already given to thousands of other employers ....  Nor should the government be allowed to say that the Sisters aren't 'religious enough' to merit the exemption that churches and other religious ministries have received."

"As Little Sisters of the Poor, we offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they are welcomed as Christ.  We perform this loving ministry because of our faith and cannot possibly choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith, and we shouldn't have to," said Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor.  "All we ask is that our rights not be taken away.  The government exempts large corporations, small businesses, and other religious ministries from what they are imposing on us -- we just want to keep serving the elderly poor as we have always done for 175 years.  We look forward to the Supreme Court hearing our case, and pray for God's protection of our ministry."


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