by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Mitchell Rocklin and Howard Slugh explore for National Review Online the dangerous implications of a pending U.S. Supreme Court case involving religious liberty.
The Obama administration’s interpretation of religious liberty would devastate free-exercise protections and relegate minority religions to second-class status. The danger posed by this interpretation has already manifested itself in a lower-court decision.
The administration maintains that courts should reject religious-liberty claims unless a judge determines that “as a matter of law,” a plaintiff would suffer a “substantial” theological burden if he did not receive an exemption. The Supreme Court will rule on that interpretation of religious liberty in an upcoming case: Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell.
In the Little Sisters case, the Obama administration urges the Court to deny nuns an exemption from the mandate that requires them to provide their employees with abortion-inducing drugs. According to the administration, the Court should conclude that, contrary to the nuns’ claims, complying with the mandate is insufficiently burdensome, theologically speaking, to warrant an exemption.
Allowing the Supreme Court to second-guess nuns’ theological conclusions is absurd and contrary to Supreme Court precedent.