BREAKING: Little Sisters of the Poor win at Supreme Court

Justices send case back to lower courts in light of government’s new position

For Immediate Release:  May 16, 2016
Media Contact:  Melinda Skea,, 202-349-7224

The Little Sisters of the Poor stand outside the Supreme Court. [Photo Credit: The Becket Fund]

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Moments ago, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided to send back to the lower courts the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who care for the elderly poor. The Court’s decision is a win for the Little Sisters and other groups who needed relief from draconian government fines.

In its decision, the Supreme Court held that after its unprecedented call for supplemental briefing that the lower courts should again review the cases.

“We are very encouraged by the Court’s decision, which is an important win for the Little Sisters. The Court has recognized that the government changed its position,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead Becket attorney for the Little Sisters of the Poor. “It is crucial that the Justices unanimously ordered the government not to impose these fines and indicated that the government doesn’t need any notice to figure out what should now be obvious—the Little Sisters respectfully object. There is still work to be done, but today’s decision indicates that we will ultimately prevail in court.”

Becket attorneys will hold on a press call today to discuss the ruling at 11:30 a.m. EST at 888-670-9385, pin number: 54523. Email questions in advance to:

A full statement will be available here shortly.

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket Fund attorney, please contact Melinda Skea at or 202-349-7224.  Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Additional Information:

  • Supreme Court Opinion (Month 16, 2016)
  • Video: Meet the Little Sisters of the Poor (one-minute vignettes on the lives of the Little Sisters)
  • New Resource: The Little Sisters of the Poor Website
  • Photos and Video for media use (Credit: Becket Fund)
  • Media Kit for the Little Sisters of the Poor (all legal docs, press releases, background, images)


The BecketFund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditionsand has a 100% win-rate before the United StatesSupreme Court.For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, includingBuddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians(read more).