Supreme Court Justice Alito Warns: ‘Religious Liberty Is in Danger of Becoming a Second-Class Right’

Nov 21, 2020 by

by Heather Clark, Christian News:

In presenting a virtual keynote speech to the Federalist Society’s annual National Lawyer’s Convention on Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito expressed his concern that religious liberty is “in danger of becoming a second-class right,” and along with that, freedom of speech.

“It pains me to say this, but in certain quarters, religious liberty has fast become a disfavored right,” he lamented.

Alito noted that not too long ago, in 1993, Congress nearly unanimously passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was then gladly signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. But today, should a state seek to pass legislation that mirrors RFRA, they are “threatened with punishing economic boycotts.”

The Supreme Court now also finds itself being presented with cases that are demonstrative of this same “trend,” he outlined, pointing to the Little Sisters of the Poor legal challenge, in which Catholic nuns who ran a charity for the indigent and elderly fought to have the right to not include contraceptive coverage in their employee insurance plans, which violates their religious beliefs.

“For that, they were targeted by the prior administration,” Alito said, referring to the Obama era. “If they did not knuckle under and violate a tenet of their faith, they faced crippling fines — fines that would likely have forced them to shut down their [charitable] homes.”

When the Trump administration sought to grant the nuns and others protection by making allowance in federal rules, States such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, along with a coalition of 17 attorneys general, then moved to fight the accommodations in court.

While the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor, the matter was sent back to the appeals court and the still fight continues to this day.

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