- Robert Shibley, F.I.R.E.
The Honorable Eileen J. O’Connor, partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, explains the impact of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate on the Little Sisters of the Poor. In Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, the sisters have petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari because they believe that following the accommodation offered by HHS violates their Freedom of Religion. The government argues that the accommodation HHS designed relieves the Little Sisters of complicity in the provision of contraceptives, and therefore their religious liberty is not implicated.
When the United States government passed the Bill of Rights in 1791, its uncompromising protection of speech and of the press were unlike anything the world had ever seen before. But by 1798, the once-dazzling young republic of the United States was on the verge of collapse: Partisanship gripped the weak federal government, British seizures threatened American goods and men on the high seas, and war with France seemed imminent as its own democratic revolution deteriorated into terror. Suddenly, the First Amendment, which protected harsh commentary of the weak government, no longer seemed as practical. So that July, President John Adams and the Federalists in control of Congress passed an extreme piece of legislation that made criticism of the government and its leaders a crime punishable by heavy fines and jail time. Liberty’s First Crisis tells the story of the 1798 Sedition Act, the crucial moment when high ideals met real-world politics and the country’s future hung in the balance. Author Charles Slack discussed his latest book and answered questions from the audience.