Religious Law

Hobby Lobby win boosts profile of religious-liberty law firm

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is getting media attention after its high-profile win in the Hobby Lobby case last month.

According to the McClatchy-Tribune News Service, the small law firm is earning a reputation as a “powerhouse” after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that closely held corporations can’t be required to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives over their owners’ religious objections.

The Becket Fund has handled about 170 cases since it opened in 1994, the story says. The firm claims a success rate of 87 percent. Last year it was supported with about $5 million in donations and grants.

Among its successes was a suit defending a Lutheran elementary school’s decision to fire a narcoleptic teacher who wanted to return to work after a disability leave. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the school was protected from a retaliation suit under the “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws grounded in the First Amendment’s religion clauses.

This fall, the law firm joins with a University of Virginia law professor to represent a Muslim inmate before the U.S. Supreme Court in his bid to be allowed to grow a beard. Before the law firm got involved in the case, the Supreme Court granted cert based on the inmate’s handwritten, pro se petition.

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