Twenty states filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court today supporting religious freedom.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed on behalf of 20 states in the case of Little Sisters v. Burwell, in support of the religious nonprofit’s right to exercise sincerely-held religious beliefs.
“Under the First Amendment of the Constitution, the federal government must respect the sincere religious convictions of our citizens, and cannot force them to comply with mandates that violate their beliefs,” Attorney General Paxton said. “These regulations have serious financial and spiritual consequences for objecting employers and place an undue burden on them as they faithfully serve our communities. Texas will continue to defend the First Amendment rights of citizens and fight against the Obama Administration’s attempts to erode our religious liberties.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton have a strong history of defending Texas’s acknowledgments of religion. The State’s religious liberties cases included:
- In October 2012, Abbott defended Kountze high school cheerleaders by taking head-on the lawsuit filed against them for including religious messages on their football game banners.
- In 2011, Abbott’s office submitted a legal brief asking a federal appeals court to uphold Medina Valley High School graduates’ constitutional rights to freely express their religious beliefs during graduation ceremonies.
- In January 2009, after Abbott submitted a legal brief joined by all 50 state attorneys general, a federal judge cleared the way for President Barack Obama to include references to religion during his Presidential Inauguration.
- In 2007, Attorney General Abbott defeated a lawsuit that attempted to remove the words “under God” from the Texas Pledge of Allegiance.
- In 2005, Attorney General Abbott appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court and defended the State’s Ten Commandments monument, which stands on the Texas Capitol grounds. In that case, Van Orden v. Perry, the plaintiff sought to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the Capitol grounds, but Attorney General Abbott successfully argued that the monument was entirely constitutional.
On August 10, Paxton filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Houston Baptist University v. Burwell in support of the petitioners’ fight against Obamacare’s contraception mandate, which violates their religious beliefs.
The State of Texas filed today’s brief on behalf of Texas, Ohio, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.