Just as the COVID restrictions have highlighted the movement toward rule by experts, litigation about those restrictions, has pointed up emerging trends in the assessment of individual rights. This is especially evident with respect to religious liberty. It pains me to say this, but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored, right. And that marks a surprising turn of events. Consider where things stood in the 1990s. And to me, at least that does not seem like the Jurassic age. When a Supreme Court decision called employment division versus Smith, cut back sharply on the protection provided by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Congress was quick to respond. It passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). To ensure broad protection for religious liberty. The law had almost universal support. In the house, the vote was unanimous. In the Senate, it was merely 97 to three, and the bill was enthusiastically signed by President Clinton today that widespread support has vanished. When states have considered or gone ahead and adopted their own versions of reference. They have been threatened with punishing economic boycotts.
Eighth, he discussed the Little Sisters of the Poor case.
Some of our cases illustrate this same trend. Take the protracted campaign against the Little Sisters of the Poor in order of Catholic nuns, the Little Sisters or women who have dedicated their lives to caring for the elderly, poor, regardless of religion. They run homes that have one high praise. Here’s some of the testimonials filed in our court by residents of their homes. The Little Sisters, quote, do everything to make us happy. I feel I’m part of the family and that’s a great feeling. They will keep you alive 10 years longer than anyplace else because they love you. Carol hassel in a nutshell, I would say this about the Little Sisters, a little bit of heaven fell from the sky one day and landed in my apartment.
Despite this inspiring work, the little sisters have been under unrelenting attack for the better part of a decade. Why because they refused to allow their health insurance plan to provide contraceptives to their employees. For that they were targeted by the prior administration. If they did not knuckle under and violate a tenet of their faith. They face crippling fines, fines that would likely have forced them to shut down their homes.