The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the consolidated case of Zubik v. Burwell on Wednesday.
Thirty-seven petitioners, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, have asked the Supreme Court to exempt them from the Affordable Care Act’s Health and Human Services mandate that requires them to cover contraceptive and abortifacient drugs in their health insurance plans. The petitioners — comprised of Catholic and evangelical organizations and individuals — argue that providing such drugs would violate their conscience.
Mother Loraine Marie Maguire of the Little Sisters of the Poor speaks to the media after arguments at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Wednesday. The high court heard arguments in Little Sisters v. Burwell, which will examine whether the government's new health care regulation will require the Little Sisters to change their health care plan to offer services that violate Catholic teaching. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Pro-life and pro-choice protesters gathered at the steps of the court as the justices heard the arguments.
Protests beginning outside SCOTUS. The court hears Zubik vs. Burwell today https://t.co/I4jn6kvy67— Kate Scanlon (@Kate Scanlon) 1458736394.0
#LetThemServe, she told me https://t.co/yTP6py5cNs— Kate Scanlon (@Kate Scanlon) 1458736628.0
https://t.co/n1INJ5EnkZ— Kate Scanlon (@Kate Scanlon) 1458737729.0
#LittleSistersOfThePoor leave SCOTUS https://t.co/1ZIWVVbu9s— Kate Scanlon (@Kate Scanlon) 1458747773.0
The Little Sisters of the Poor were joined by many of their fellow nuns as well.
SISTER ACT HAPPENING NOWpic.twitter.com/VHlCySxl4l— Kate Scanlon (@kgscanlon) March 23, 2016
Members of Congress spoke at the pro-life and pro-choice rallies.
.@DWStweets says "the Senate needs to do their damn job" and appoint a new Justice outside SCOTUS https://t.co/1ENbiLYkkB— Kate Scanlon (@Kate Scanlon) 1458738435.0
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) told those in attendance that “the rights we’ve secured must remain in place.”
Wasserman Schultz, who is the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, criticized the Senate for not yet confirming President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.
.@CongHuelskamp: if you can undermine the 1st amendment, that is a clear and present danger to faith, country https://t.co/KIRBMr0dB0— Kate Scanlon (@Kate Scanlon) 1458750114.0
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) told TheBlaze that it’s essential that Garland is not approved by the Senate.
Huelskamp said that it is unconscionable to ask the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate their faith, and the Obama administration is too eager to do so.
“The Democrat Party has become the party of anti-Catholics,” Huelskamp said. “Attacking the Little Sisters of the Poor, they picked the wrong group to bully.”
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, who was in the court for the oral arguments, told TheBlaze, “I thought it went well,” adding, “I was very pleased.”
Pavone characterized the government’s argument in support of the mandate as “We don’t want to inconvenience people.”
“'We don’t want to inconvenience people?’ Is that how much you regard the weight of religious freedom?” Pavone said.
Pavone is an individual petitioner in the case alongside his organization Priests for Life.
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