Members Of Congress Ask Supreme Court To Hear Crucial Case Involving Rights Of Conscience

Forty-Three Members of Congress ask the Supreme Court to hear case regarding the conscience rights of healthcare providers

Feb 10, 2016, 16:02 ET from Liberty Institute

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On behalf of 43 Members of Congress, Liberty Institute and its volunteer attorneys from the law firm of Jackson Walker LLP filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Stormans v. Wiesman, asking the government to protect and affirm the conscience rights of healthcare professionals. 

Read the brief: https://www.libertyinstitute.org/file/ThriftwayNo.-15-862-Members-of-Congress-Amicus-with-Appendix1.pdf   

The Stormans case began in 2007, when Washington State adopted a new regulation forcing pharmacists to sell abortion-inducing drugs in violation of their religious beliefs. In 2007, the Stormans family, who own a pharmacy, asked the government to allow them to be exempt from the regulation, due to their religious belief that life begins at conception. They contended that to be forced to provide abortifacients would violate their faith, as well as their oath to "do no harm." They won at the federal level, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the pharmacists' right of conscience in July 2015.

Forty-three Congressional leaders, including the chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus and the co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, called on the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit's decision and protect the conscience rights of the pharmacists. 

In the brief, the congressional leaders note how the United States has recognized and protected conscience rights since the Founding Era, establishing a time-honored legal tradition of accommodating conscientious objectors. The congressmen argue that the Ninth Circuit's rejection of religious rights could provide a dangerous blueprint, leading other states to negate longstanding rights of conscience. The congressional leaders urged the Supreme Court to hear the Stormans case and protect the conscience rights of healthcare providers.

Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of Liberty Institute, says, "Americans have honored and protected conscience rights since the time of the Founding Fathers. Along with the forty-three members of Congress who signed the brief, I call on the Supreme Court to protect the rights of Americans to live according to the dictates of their conscience."

Appellate attorney and counsel of record Sean D. Jordan of Jackson Walker LLP remarked, "Federal and State governments have enacted myriad statues, regulations, and rules protecting the conscience rights of healthcare professionals who abstain from practices, procedures, or products that would violate their moral duty not to kill or cause harm. These exceptions for conscientious objectors are the rule in the American legal tradition."

The signatories on the brief include the following:

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)
Rep. Robert B. Aderholt (R-AL)
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) 
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY)
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)
Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
Rep. John Culberson (R-TX)
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)
Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)
Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA)
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Rep. Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (R-AZ)
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI)
Rep. Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD)
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA)
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)
Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL)
Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC)
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)
Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS)
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA)
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX)
Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA)
Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC)
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)
Rep. Robert J. Wittman (R-VA)
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)  

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SOURCE Liberty Institute