BLOGSetting Good Precedent: Why We Engage at the U.S. Supreme Court

By Sarah Kramer Posted on: | April 20, 2017

The past few weeks have seen a lot of Alliance Defending Freedom activity at the U.S. Supreme Court. Our time and efforts at the Supreme Court continue to increase, and by the grace of God, we’ve seen some significant wins.

But why does the Supreme Court matter so much?

If you’ll remember the summer of 2015, the Supreme Court took it upon itself to redefine marriage and ruled that the Constitution requires all 50 states to recognize same-sex marriages. With one decision.

The Supreme Court sets precedent in our country, for better or worse.

That’s why ADF needs to be a big player at the Supreme Court. We want to do our part to ensure the Supreme Court is making decisions that protect our fundamental rights: religious freedom, free speech, freedom of conscience.

That means we are regularly asking the Supreme Court to hear our cases like the three below and to rule for freedom:


1. Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer

In this case, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri submitted an application for a state reimbursement program to resurface their playground. However, the state rejected their application simply because it is a religious organization.  Never mind the fact that they met the criteria and were ranked 5th out of 44 applicants. The Supreme Court heard arguments in this case on April 19.

At stake: Can the government treat people of faith and religious organizations worse than everyone else?


2. Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Jack Phillips is a cake artist in Colorado who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop. When a same-sex couple walked into his store and asked him to create a custom cake for their same-sex wedding ceremony, however, he had to politely decline. Jack is a Christian who believes what the Bible says about marriage – that it is a union between one man and one woman. He could not use his artistic talents to portray a message or celebrate an event that contradicts this belief. He was sued by the same-sex couple, and ADF appealed his case to the Supreme Court.

At stake: Can the government force creative professionals to use their artistic talents to promote a message or celebrate an event that contradicts their convictions?


3. National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra

California passed a state law that would force pro-life pregnancy centers to post information on how their patients can receive free abortions and a number for them to call. But that directly conflicts with the mission of these organizations. These centers should never be forced into abortion advocacy by the state. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowed this law to stand, so ADF is appealing this case to the Supreme Court.

At stake: Can the government force healthcare professionals to violate their professional and moral ethics?


In each of these cases, government is trying to force people of faith and religion out of the public square and treat them worse than everyone else simply because of their beliefs. These attempts violate our Constitution and the very freedoms on which our nation was founded.

That is why ADF must engage at the Supreme Court.

To stay up to date on the latest in these cases and others affecting your religious freedom, sign up for our newsletter. 


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Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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