Archive for the ‘SCOTUS’ Category

Priests for Life vs. HHS to Return to Judge Merrick Garland

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 17, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fr. Frank Pavone, a petitioner in the case of Priests for Life vs. HHS, one of the cases that has been challenging the HHS mandate in the U.S. Supreme Court, commented today on the fact that, thanks to yesterday’s action by the high court, the Priests for Life case now returns to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Chief Judge of that Circuit Court is Merrick Garland, President Obama’s choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against Priests for Life (and the Archdiocese of Washington, whose case the court consolidated with that of Priests for Life) in November 2014, nearly three years after Priests for Life became the fourth group in the nation to challenge the HHS mandate.

Priests for Life asked for a rehearing in the Court of Appeals by the entire body of judges, but that request was denied in May 2015. The appeal was then made to the Supreme Court, which granted cert last November.

“Judge Garland did not side with us on this case; now, however, that we are back in his court, we come with even stronger arguments,” Fr. Pavone said, referring to the additional briefings that the Supreme Court requested of the petitioners and the government. The briefings show that both sides agree there is a way forward by which the government can pursue its objectives of contraceptive coverage and that the petitioners can be free of any involvement in the process.

“It’s not that the arguments necessarily sway the judges,” Fr. Pavone added. “It’s that the strength of our arguments reveals the extremism of the government and of the judges who side with them. The progress of the Priests for Life vs. HHS case in Judge Garland’s court will again shed light on the kind of people that a Democratic President will nominate for the Supreme Court and other federal courts, and will vividly remind the voters what is at stake in this election.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Evangelist Alveda King: The Babies’ Blood is Crying Out as Courts Scramble to Wash Hands in Reversal Move

Monday, May 16th, 2016

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“Today’s action is another step forward in the cause of freedom, because the Court did not rule against The Little Sisters of the Poor. From the perspective one of the plaintiffs in the ongoing HHS battle, it’s clear that we are not out of the woods yet, because there may still be resistance from the government. This scenario reminds me of Pilate washing his hands during the trial of Christ,” said Evangelist Alveda King, director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, Priests for Life.

“However, we pray and believe that the government can pursue its objectives without forcing us to choose between following the law and following our faith,” continued King. “The case of Priests for Life vs. HHS is about freedom, and we are confident of final victory.“

Priests for Life Issues Further Comments in HHS Supreme Court Case

Priests for Life, the first group of the 37 Supreme Court petitioners in Zubik vs. Burwell to challenge the HHS mandate in court, has responded to today’s action by the Court in this consolidated case.

Robert Muise, of the American Freedom Law Center, which has represented Priests for Life in this case from the beginning, explained, “The Court’s action today continues to protect us from this unjust mandate, and from any punishment for not obeying it. It gives us a chance now to work out in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, whose ruling against us is now vacated, a solution that will continue to protect our religious freedom. As we have always said, because the very mission of Priests for Life is to advance a culture free from any kind of abortion, this organization continues to be a perfectly situated petitioner to object to the mandate.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, and also a personal petitioner in the case, added, “We are encouraged by today’s development. The Supreme Court could have ruled against us, but evidently the Obama Administration did not succeed in persuading them to do so. A split Court could also have let the lower court’s negative ruling stand, but again, they did not see fit to do that. Instead, the Supreme Court, upon receiving further briefings, vacated the lower court rulings, and offered the parties an opportunity to work out a mutually acceptable solution in the lower courts, that will both allow the government to pursue its objectives and allow us to practice our faith. We are committed to continuing that process in the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.”

Janet Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life, and also a personal petitioner in the case, stated, “In April, we told the Supreme Court that if the government and the insurance companies are going to provide free coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives, they have to do it without any involvement from us, and without hijacking the insurance plan we offer our employees. Moreover, the government also told the Court that modifications to the accommodation would be possible. So now, we look forward to the next step of this process, which we hope will find a more reasonable response by the government than we have seen up to now.”

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Fr. Pavone: Priests for Life Supreme Court Case Reminds Us That Next President Will Shape Nation for 40 Years

Monday, May 9th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 9, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — As Priests for Life awaits word from the Supreme Court on its case, Priests for Life vs. HHS, challenging the HHS mandate, Father Frank Pavone, National Director, said the case illustrates the importance of the 2016 elections.

“With the Supreme Court evenly divided along ideological lines, it becomes clear that how Americans vote in November will not only impact the next four years, but the next 40 years as well,” Father Pavone said. “The president and the Senate together shape the Supreme Court and the other federal courts. Depending on what party controls each branch of government, the court will move solidly to the right or to the left. The differences between the two parties on fundamental issues could not be more clear, more stark, or more extreme.”

Father Pavone has recorded a series of short videos to explain more about Priests for Life vs. HHS, the Supreme Court case in which Priests for Life is a petitioner along with 36 others. The videos can be found at www.MandateMinutes.com and are available for broadcast.

A list of talking points about the case can be found at www.IStandwithPFL.com.

“Voters who find themselves dissatisfied with the likely Democratic and Republican candidates have to look beyond the nominees themselves and understand the impact of a party, and its prevailing philosophies, not only on the next four years but on the next 40 years,” Father Pavone said. “Among other things, do we want to protect the unborn or do we want to continue to be a nation that sanctions the murder of its most vulnerable citizens?”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Priests for Life Petitioners Comment on HHS Case

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 13, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, DC — The petitioners in Priests for Life vs. HHS, one of the Supreme Court cases consolidated into Zubik vs. Burwell, commented today on the supplemental briefs submitted to the Supreme Court yesterday. Both the petitioners and the government were responding to questions posed in a March 29 order of the Court.

Janet Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life, said: “From the beginning of this case, I have made it clear that I will not sign any forms that authorize our insurance company to cover these objectionable services in the health insurance we offer our employees. This case is not about the actions of third-parties. What the insurance company or the government will do without any authorization or involvement from us is one thing; what they try to force us to do is quite another.”

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. and full-time director of Civil Rights for the Unborn (the African-American outreach of Priests for Life), said, “Women’s reproductive issues are very complex. Forcing us to provide contraception will never resolve a woman’s deepest issues. There once was a woman with an issue of blood and Christ became her healer. May the church rise up and serve our women or else the government will continue to destroy our greatest blessings.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, stated, “The Court has asked us the right question. They asked us to draw the line, as believers, between behavior that is acceptable and behavior that is unacceptable to our faith. We have done so. Now it remains for the Court to rule to protect our freedom to live that faith by being able to choose freely what kind of insurance coverage we offer to our employees.”

Priests for Life, the largest Catholic organization focused on ending abortion, was the first of the 37 petitioners in Zubik vs. Burwell to challenge the HHS mandate in court.

The petitioners’ brief is here. The government’s brief is here. The Court order requesting the briefs is here.

Priests for Life is conducting a nationwide prayer campaign at www.SupremeCourtVictory.com for a favorable outcome in this case. For more information about the case, see www.IStandWithPFL.com.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Priests for Life tells Court: Yes, there is a Less Restrictive Means

Monday, April 11th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 11, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, DC — Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, whose case, Priests for Life vs. HHS, is one of the seven consolidated cases at the Supreme Court in Zubik vs. Burwell, stated today that he has responded to the question that the Supreme Court presented to the petitioners recently, trying to find a way to satisfy their religious objections to the HHS mandate.

In an unusual move, the Court asked petitioners recently for more documentation that might map out the way to a solution to the present controversy. On the one hand, the government wants the employees of Priests for Life and the other organizations to have insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives. On the other hand, Priests for Life and the other groups want no part of providing it.

“By asking us to describe how things should be different than what the mandate currently requires, the Court is showing that it recognizes that the believer is the only one qualified to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. As the Supreme Court already said in Hobby Lobby and other cases, it is never the role of the government or the Court to substitute its own judgment for that of the believer.

“Also, the fact that the Court is asking us to describe a better solution that would truly accommodate our religious beliefs indicates that it is looking for a ‘less restrictive’ means for the government to pursue its objectives. The existence of a ‘less restrictive’ means, which we believe we have identified in this new brief, leads us to victory in this case. It proves our point that the government hasn’t passed the test that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires,” Fr. Pavone explained.

The brief that has been prepared as a collaborative effort of all the petitioners and their attorneys will be filed with the Court tomorrow, simultaneous with a brief from the government on the same question. Then, later in the month, each side will be able to respond to one another’s briefs.

“The bottom line is this,” Fr. Pavone stated. “We have told the Court that we simply cannot take any actions whatsoever to authorize, facilitate, or in any way be part of the provision of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. This case is not about what others do; rather, it is about what we do. We cannot ever be the ‘gateway’ for the provision of these life-denying, life-destroying drugs. We have drawn that line clearly for the court. If the government or the insurance companies insist on pursuing the destructive path of abortion and contraception, they already have the means to do it without our involvement. Our message to the government is simple: leave us out of it, and stop forcing us to choose between following the law and following our faith. Every believer in America should be free to do both at the same time.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Fr. Pavone sees new SCOTUS order as a positive development

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 29, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — The Supreme Court today released an order requesting supplemental briefs from petitioners in Zubik vs. Burwell to address how contraceptive coverage may be obtained by employees through petitioners’ insurance companies, in a way that does not require any involvement of petitioners beyond their decision to provide health insurance without contraceptive coverage to their employees.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement regarding the new order.

“We are reviewing the Court’s order with our attorneys, and we will indeed be filing a supplemental brief. We see this as a positive development in that the Court appears to be looking for a least restrictive alternative that would not burden our religious beliefs, which will ultimately mean that the government did not satisfy its burden under Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Priests for Life vs. HHS is one of the seven consolidated cases in Zubik vs. Burwell that had oral arguments before the Court last week. Robert Muise, co-founder and senior counsel of the American Freedom Law Center, represents Priests for Life.

For information about the case, go to www.IStandwithPFL.com

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Religious Liberty Matters

Friday, March 18th, 2016

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Priests for Life press conference on Zubik vs. Burwell March 22 at the National Press Club

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 17, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Priests for Life, a plaintiff in Zubik vs. Burwell, will hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 22 in the Bloomberg Room of the National Press Club.

At stake in Zubik is the religious liberty of dozens of plaintiffs, as well as plaintiffs in more than 50 other cases that did not make it to the Supreme Court but will be impacted by the ruling on whether the federal government can enforce its mandate on faith-based ministries.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, and Janet Morana, Executive Director, are both named plaintiffs in the case and will speak at the press conference. Robert Muise, co-founder and senior counsel of the American Freedom Law Center, which is representing Priests for Life, also will make remarks. Other plaintiffs have been invited to discuss their cases, and Priests for Life is awaiting confirmation that some high-profile friend-of-the-court filers will attend.

“What’s at stake in Zubik vs. Burwell is not access to contraception,” Father Pavone said. “What this case is about is the government attempting to dictate how people of faith may practice their religion, whatever that religion may be. Catholics and evangelical Christians are represented in Zubik, but friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed by a rich diversity of faith traditions, including Orthodox Jews, Muslims and followers of Krishna. This case is about more than priests and nuns.”

Mrs. Morana added: “Priests for Life objects to the contraceptive and abortion-causing drugs and devices covered by the HHS mandate because they are counter to Catholic teaching. But we also oppose being ordered to provide our employees with substances that are so clearly harmful to women.”

The National Press Club is at 529 14th St NW in Washington. The Bloomberg Room is on the 13th floor.

For more information on Zubik vs. Burwell, go to www.istandwithpfl.com To arrange an interview with Father Pavone, Mrs. Morana or Mr. Muise, please call Leslie Palma, Priests for Life director of communications, at 347-286-7277 or email media@priestsforlife.org

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Fr. Frank Pavone Thanks Friends of the Court in Priests for Life Supreme Court Case

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 16, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today expressed thanks to the many groups and individuals who have filed amicus curiae (Friend of the Court) briefs in support of the Supreme Court case, Zubik vs. Burwell, among which Priests for Life vs. HHS is one of the seven consolidated cases challenging the Obamacare HHS mandate.

“It’s humbling and gratifying that more than 400 people and organizations have taken the time and effort to draft and file ‘friend of the court’ briefs in support of one of the most important cases on religious freedom to reach the Supreme Court,” said Fr. Pavone. “When our lawyers stand before the Court on March 23, they will have the intellectual, moral, and spiritual support of these legal, academic, and religious leaders who stand with us in this profound battle.”

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in this case on Wednesday, March 23. At issue is the bureaucratic regulation requiring religious non-profit groups to make available to their employees abortifacients, contraceptives, and procedures for sterilization. Priests for Life was the first of the petitioners currently before the Court to file a lawsuit against the regulation.

“We thank all who are standing with us, including the 207 members of the United States House and Senate, former U.S. Attorneys General, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Eternal Word Television Network, law professors, the Knights of Columbus, Orthodox Jewish rabbis, and representatives of Islam and other religions, just to name a few.

“All of these friends of the court are declaring with us that government should never force believers to choose between following their faith and following the law. As our own brief to the court states, government might disagree with our beliefs, but cannot disregard them,” Fr. Pavone concluded.

All of the “amicus curiae” or friend of the court briefs that have been filed in support of Priests for Life and the other plaintiffs may be found here.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Fr. Frank Pavone: Let American Voters Decide the Next Direction of the Supreme Court

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 16, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK – Fr. Frank Pavone today issued the following statement on President Obama’s nomination of federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

“The Senate is both completely justified and correct in permitting the next President, whoever that may be, to nominate the next Supreme Court Justice, and the next Senate to vote on that nominee. This is no time for a lame duck President to push through a judge for a lifetime appointment. Let the American people speak, in the elections, about the direction they want the court and the nation to go.

“We at Priests for Life are more aware than usual of the impact of the Supreme Court, as our religious liberty case, Priests for Life vs. HHS, which challenges the HHS mandate, goes into oral argument at the Supreme Court this coming Wednesday.

“Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley have announced that the U.S. Senate will not take any action on any nominee President Obama puts forward for the high court. I am confident that they will remain firm in their commitment. I call on all Americans to urge their Senators to do the same.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Priests for Life Attorneys Reply to Government Brief in U.S. Supreme Court

Monday, March 14th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 14, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Priests for Life vs. HHS challenges Obama Administration – Oral arguments next week

NEW YORK – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, announced today that attorneys for his organization and for co-plaintiffs have filed their response to the government’s opposition brief in the Supreme Court case Zubik v. Burwell, of which Priests for Life vs. HHS is one of the seven consolidated cases. The Court will hear oral arguments in the dispute over the HHS mandate on March 23.

“Our brief argues conclusively that the Obama administration has not proven that it has any legal basis to force Priests for Life and the other religious non-profit groups to violate our religious beliefs,” said Fr. Pavone. “Federal law is clear that the government cannot force a believer to choose between following his faith and following the law. The government’s goal of increasing access to abortion-inducing drugs is not a ‘compelling interest,’ and, even if it were, there are alternate ways to achieve it than forcing priests to violate the faith they were ordained to proclaim.”

Priests for Life, the first of the dozens of petitioners now before the Supreme Court to challenge the legality of the Obamacare rule known as the HHS mandate, filed their response brief with the justices on Friday. The Court will now study the case documents in preparation for oral arguments next week.

“For a variety of reasons, the government has already exempted many employers from this mandate, including some who do not even object to it,” Fr. Pavone added. “How can it justify exempting from the mandate, for non-religious reasons, a person who doesn’t even object to it, and at the same time insisting on imposing it on us who do object to it for religious reasons?”

For information on the case, see www.IStandWithPFL.com; for a prayer campaign related to the case, see www.SupremeCourtVictory.com

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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