Oral Arguments in the Contraceptive Mandate Case: Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. - Podcast

Religious Liberties Practice Group Podcast
Robert A. Destro, Adèle Keim March 26, 2014

Hobby Lobby

On March 25, 2014, the contraceptive mandate case was argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. Hobby Lobby Stores’ owners have no moral or other objection to the use of 16 of 20 contraceptives required by the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but cite their deeply held religious beliefs in objecting to providing or paying for four others they see as possibly life-threatening. How will the Supreme Court rule? Does the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), allow Hobby Lobby a way around the ACA ‘s contraceptive mandate? Our experts reviewed the oral arguments and took questions from the audience in this Courthouse Steps Teleforum.


  • Prof. Robert A. Destro, Professor of Law, and Director, Interdisciplinary Program in Law & Religion, The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law
  • Adele Keim, Counsel, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

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Damages and Medical Monitoring - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Mark A. Behrens February 04, 2014

Medical SymbolThere is a split among appellate courts in the United States over medical monitoring – court-ordered payments to plaintiffs who have been exposed to some potentially harmful product or situation but have no symptoms. Is a present injury a fundamental prerequisite to any award? Should the person or entity that created the product or situation be required to pay plaintiffs for periodic medical testing? Most, but not all, courts say no. Mark Behrens discussed medical monitoring, when and where it might be required, and the latest trends.


  • Mark A. Behrens, Partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.

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Religious Liberty & Conflicting Moral Visions - Event Audio/Video

2013 National Lawyers Convention
Kyle Duncan, William A. Galston, Robert P. George, Andrew Koppelman, Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain November 20, 2013

Religious Liberty & Conflicting Moral Visions - Event Audio/VideoIn a variety of contexts, from the HHS preventive services mandate to same-sex marriage, differing moral visions are in increasing conflict in the public square.  How will this conflict affect the American understanding of religious liberty?

The Religious Liberties Practice Group hosted this panel on "Religious Liberty & Conflicting Moral Visions" on Thursday, November 14, during the 2013 National Lawyers Convention.

Religious Liberties: Religious Liberty & Conflicting Moral Visions
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
State Room

  • Mr. Kyle Duncan, General Counsel, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
  • Prof. William A. Galston, Ezra Zilkha Chair, Governance Studies Program, The Brookings Institution
  • Prof. Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions Department of Politics, Princeton
  • Prof. Andrew M. Koppelman, John Paul Stevens Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

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HHS "Contraceptive" Mandate - Litigation Update - Podcast

Religious Liberties Practice Group Podcast
Mark L. Rienzi, William L. Saunders, Dean A. Reuter April 29, 2013

HHS The controversy over the HHS contraceptive mandate has generated over 50 lawsuits, on behalf of more than 160 different plaintiffs.  Most of the litigation on behalf of non-profit entities (universities, hospitals, etc.) has been on hold, awaiting the administration's planned issuance of a new final rule with an "accommodation" for non-profits with religious objections.  Litigation on behalf of for-profit businesses and their owners, however, is moving through the courts of appeals, with several courts hearing arguments in May and June.  To date, the for-profit businesses have won 17 preliminary injunctions, and been denied relief in 6 cases.

Mark Rienzi, who is Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and an associate professor at the Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law, discussed the current status of the cases during this teleforum.  Our Religious Liberties Practice Group Chairman, William L. Saunders, introduced Prof. Rienzi and provided his commentary to Professor Rienzi’s remarks.


  • Prof. Mark L. Rienzi, The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law and Senior Counsel, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
  • Introduction and Commentary: Mr. William L. “Bill” Saunders, Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel, Americans United for Life and Chairman, Religious Liberties Practice Group
  • Moderator: Mr. Dean A. Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

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Abortion and Military Facilities: The Effect of the Burris Amendment in the Department of Defense Authorization Bill

New Federal Initiatives Project
William L. Saunders September 20, 2010

Abortion and Military Facilities: The Effect of the Burris Amendment in the Department of Defense Authorization BillThe U.S. Senate version of the Department of Defense (DOD) authorization bill for FY2011 contains a provision that would change the law regarding abortion in military facilities.

Under current law, abortions may not be performed by DOD medical personnel or in Department of Defense medical facilities except when the life of the mother is at risk, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  A woman is permitted to leave the base and make her own private arrangement for an elective abortion.

The "Burris Amendment," added to the DOD authorization bill by the Senate Armed Services Committee, would strike from the law the prohibition on use of military facilities for elective abortions.  The amendment does not change a separate provision of the law that prohibits the use of DOD funds for abortion.