November 30, 2023
Obria Group v. Ferguson
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing two faith-based, pro-life nonprofits against the attorney general of Washington state for conducting an unconstitutional and unlawful investigation into the organizations’ privileged records and materials, singling out the nonprofits because of their life-affirming views.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued civil investigative demands that dictate that Obria Group and Obria Medical Groups PNW provide answers to questions and production of documents spanning 13 years under the pretense of conducting a civil investigation into “possible” violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act. The information and documentation demanded by the civil investigative demands is so expansive that they would sweep up massive amounts of information and confidential internal communications and documents that are unrelated to the attorney general’s stated purpose for the investigation, or beyond the statute of limitations.
Such unreasonably overbroad, invasive, selective, and burdensome investigative demands violate the pro-life organizations’ constitutional rights.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
November 21, 2023
Mid Vermont Christian School
ADF filed a federal lawsuit against Vermont officials for denying Mid Vermont Christian School and its students from participating in the state’s tuition program and sports league because of their religious beliefs about gender and sexuality.
Vermont, through its Agency of Education and the Vermont Principals’ Association, is requiring private, religious schools like Mid Vermont Christian to adopt the state’s view on human sexuality and gender as a condition to participate in the state’s tuition program and athletic association. Doing so violates the First Amendment rights of Mid Vermont Christian, its students and families, and other faith-based schools by preventing them from practicing their religious beliefs.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
November 21, 2023
Drummond v. Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board
ADF filed a brief with the Oklahoma Supreme Court opposing a petition filed by the state attorney general. In the case, Attorney General Gentner Drummond is asking the court to cancel the contract that the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board entered with St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School solely because St. Isidore is Catholic.
On June 5, the board approved a revised application to establish St. Isidore as a statewide virtual charter school. Attorney General Drummond filed a lawsuit last month against the board, claiming it violated state law. But, as ADF attorneys explain in their brief, the board members took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that religious groups cannot be excluded from generally available programs solely because of their religious character.Press Release Case Documents
November 20, 2023
State of Idaho v. United States of America
Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador, together with attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom and Cooper & Kirk, filed an emergency application for stay pending appeal last Monday with the Supreme Court.
In the case, the Biden administration is putting pregnant women and unborn children at risk by unlawfully attempting to force doctors to perform dangerous abortions that are illegal under Idaho’s Defense of Life Act. The emergency application asks the nation’s high court to respect Idaho’s decision to protect the lives of women and their unborn children and immediately halt a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that held that the administration could misuse the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act to force emergency room doctors to facilitate abortion.Press Release Case Documents
November 14, 2023
In a victory for free speech, the Helsinki Court of Appeal has dismissed all charges against Finnish Member of Parliament Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola, who were both tried for “hate speech” in August after publicly expressing their Christian beliefs. The unanimous appeals court ruling upheld the district court’s March 2022 unanimous acquittal.
Räsänen, Finland’s former Interior Minister and a grandmother of 11, was formally charged with “agitation against a minority group” in 2021 for sharing her Christian beliefs on marriage and sexual ethics in a 2019 tweet, in addition to a 2019 live radio debate and 2004 church pamphlet. Pohjola was charged for publishing Räsänen’s 2004 pamphlet. The case has garnered global media attention as human rights experts voiced concern over the threat posed to free speech.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
November 6, 2023
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis, ADF has successfully settled a lawsuit on behalf of Virginia photographer Bob Updegrove.
Back in 2020, Updegrove filed suit challenging the so-called Virginia Values Act that would have required him to offer and create photography celebrating same-sex weddings because he offered to create photography celebrating opposite-sex weddings. The prior Attorney General of Virginia defended the law’s reach to expressive artists like Updegrove, which went so far as to prohibit Updegrove from publicly explaining on his studio’s own website his religious reasons for only celebrating wedding ceremonies between a man and a woman. The law also threatened initial fines of up to $50,000 and then $100,000 per additional violation, along with court orders that could have forced Updegrove to create photography for events that went against his conscience if he wanted to stay in business.
Thankfully, as part of the settlement, Virginia officials acknowledged that—as the Supreme Court affirmed in 303 Creative—the Constitution protects Updegrove’s right to create wedding photography consistent with his beliefs and that he is free to communicate his business policy regarding his religious beliefs on marriage.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
October 23, 2023
Darren Patterson Christian Academy v. Roy
A federal district court ruled to allow Darren Patterson Christian Academy to participate in Colorado’s universal preschool program consistent with its religious beliefs while the school’s lawsuit proceeds.
Earlier this year, Darren Patterson Christian Academy applied for and obtained approval to participate in Colorado’s new universal preschool program, which guarantees every four-year-old in the state at least 15 hours per week of state-funded preschool services for this school year. The Colorado Department of Early Childhood, however, mandated that, for the school to participate in the program and receive critical state funding, it must hire employees who do not share its faith and alter internal rules and policies that are based on the school’s religious beliefs about sexuality and gender—including those that relate to restroom usage, pronouns, dress codes, and student housing during expeditions and field trips. To protect its ability to participate in the program without compromising its religious beliefs, the school requested an exemption in May of this year, but the department denied that request.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
October 3, 2023
T.F. and B.F. v. Kettle Moraine School District
In a victory for parental rights, a Wisconsin court ruled that Kettle Moraine School District’s policy of changing students’ names and using new pronouns at school without parental consent (and over parents’ objection) violates parents’ rights.
In November 2021, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys challenged the policy on behalf of two sets of Wisconsin parents. One of the couples suing the school district was forced to withdraw their then 12-year-old daughter from the district to protect her mental health and preserve their parental role. The district violated their constitutionally protected freedoms by insisting that school staff use a male name and male pronouns to address their daughter at school regardless of the parents’ objection. The other couple joined the lawsuit to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to their children.
Parents have the right to direct the upbringing of their children. School officials do not have the right to make major decisions about a child’s mental health without the parents’ knowledge and consent.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
October 3, 2023
The Colorado Supreme Court agreed to take the case of cake artist Jack Phillips and his business Masterpiece Cakeshop, the third such lawsuit to target them.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis that upheld free speech for all, ADF attorneys filed a supplemental notice with the Colorado Supreme Court asking it to apply that ruling and similarly affirm Phillips’ free speech rights in Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop. An activist attorney and Colorado officials have misused the same state law that was at issue in 303 Creative to punish Phillips for more than a decade.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
October 3, 2023
Sixteen states and a number of advocacy organizations have united in support of Liam Morrison’s freedom of speech in friend-of-the-court briefs filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit. After a district court ruled against Liam in August, ADF attorneys appealed to the 1st Circuit.
In May, ADF and the Massachusetts Family Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of Morrison. After he wore a t-shirt to school saying, “There are only two genders,” the principal of the school, along with a school counselor, pulled Morrison out of class and ordered him to remove his shirt. After he politely declined, school officials said that he must remove the shirt to return to class. As a result, Morrison left school and missed the rest of his classes that day. Once school officials censored his original message, Morrison chose to wear an altered shirt that reads, “There are censored genders” to protest the fact that only some messages about gender are allowed. As soon as Morrison arrived at school, his teacher instructed him to go to the principal’s office, where he was told that he could not wear that shirt at school either.
Students don’t forfeit their free speech when they walk into the school building.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
September 21, 2023
Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee v. Statewide Virtual Charter School Board
ADF filed a motion on behalf of Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee. The motion seeks to defend the board’s decision to allow religious groups to seek public funding for privately operated charter schools, as protected by the First Amendment.
On June 5, the board approved a revised application to establish St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School as a statewide virtual charter school. The Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee then sued to overturn the board’s approval of St. Isidore. However, as ADF attorneys explain in the motion to dismiss, the case is premature because many of the steps necessary to establish St. Isidore as a statewide virtual charter school have not yet occurred.
Oklahoma law and the U.S. Constitution protect St. Isidore’s freedom to operate according to its faith and the school board’s decision to approve such learning options for Oklahoma families.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
September 7, 2023
Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore
To settle a federal lawsuit brought by Alliance Defending Freedom, the city of Jacksonville has agreed that Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore is an exempt religious organization under city law and Title VII. As such, the for-profit bookstore is now free to operate according to its Catholic beliefs.
In February 2023, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of the bookstore challenging a city law that threatened to silence the religious views of the bookstore and its owner, Christie DeTrude, and to require them to engage in expression contrary to Catholic beliefs. Like similar laws across the country, the Jacksonville law threatened to require the bookstore to use pronouns of customers contrary to their sex and to stop the bookstore from explaining its beliefs about gender identity on its website. The bookstore serves all customers and gladly sells its products to anybody, but DeTrude and her bookstore staff cannot speak messages that violate their faith.
After the district court found that the law credibly threatened the bookstore’s First Amendment rights, Jacksonville agreed to a settlement exempting the bookstore from its law.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
September 5, 2023
Right to Life of Central California v. Bonta
In a victory for free speech and life, California state officials have agreed to a settlement protecting Right to Life of Central California’s free speech and paying $192,706 in attorneys’ fees.
In October 2021, Gavin Newsom signed SB 742 into law, which banned certain free-speech activities when a speaker is within 30 feet of another person and that other person is “in a public way or on a sidewalk area” and “within 100 feet of the entrance or exit of a vaccination site and is seeking to enter or exit a vaccination site.” This restricted Right to Life’s ability to peaceably offer charitable services to women in need on the public sidewalk and street outside its own building—and even its own parking lot—because Right to Life is located next to a Planned Parenthood abortion facility that administers the HPV vaccine.
Thankfully, as part of the settlement secured by Alliance Defending Freedom, California officials agreed to not enforce the discriminatory parts of the law against Right to Life or any speaker.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
August 25, 2023
GenBioPro v. Sorsaia
A federal district court partially dismissed a lawsuit from chemical abortion drug manufacturer GenBioPro that had targeted the state’s pro-life laws, upholding the majority of the state’s Unborn Child Protection Act and other pro-life legal provisions.
GenBioPro, which manufactures the generic chemical abortion drug mifepristone, asked the court to render the state’s pro-life laws unconstitutional, claiming that Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration the power to mandate nationwide access to dangerous chemical abortions—preempting West Virginia’s duly-enacted pro-life laws that protect the lives of the unborn and mothers. The court rejected most of those arguments, ruling that the state is free to pass and enforce pro-life laws. The only part of the state’s near-total protection for life that the court found could still be challenged is the law ensuring women see a physician in person before receiving chemical abortion drugs.
ADF will continue assisting West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the remainder of the continuing lawsuit.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
August 22, 2023
Country Mill Farms
A federal district court ruled that Country Mill Farms owner Steve Tennes is free to continue participating in the East Lansing farmer’s market. In its ruling, the court wrote that Tennes and Country Mill Farms “were forced to choose between following their religious beliefs and a government benefit for which they were otherwise qualified,” thus violating their free exercise rights.
Back in 2017, Tennes and his farm sued the city of East Lansing after officials excluded Tennes from the market because of his religious beliefs. After Tennes posted, in response to a question on Facebook, that he follows the Catholic Church’s teachings about marriage, including when he participates in weddings at his family’s farm, city officials enacted a policy to prohibit Tennes and Country Mill Farms from participating in the city’s farmer’s market. The city used a discretionary system of individual assessments to ban only Tennes from market participation, even though Tennes and his family farm have always served everyone at the farmer’s market and have never received any complaints against them.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
August 21, 2023
Eknes-Tucker v. Governor of the State of Alabama
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit lifted a lower court’s injunction on an Alabama state law that protects children from harmful and unnecessary medical procedures. The 11th Circuit’s order allows the law to take effect while the case proceeds.
The lawsuit (formerly Boe v. Marshall) was brought by activist groups and professionals with large financial interests in pushing harmful puberty-blockers, potentially sterilizing cross-sex hormones, and irreversible surgeries upon children too young to understand the long-term implications for their lives. The Biden administration is also supporting the lawsuit.
Alliance Defending Freedom is assisting the state of Alabama in defense of its commonsense law protecting vulnerable children.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
August 16, 2023
Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration
In a victory for women’s health, a unanimous panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled that the Food and Drug Administration must restore critical safeguards for chemical abortion drugs and disallow their shipment by mail.
The court’s ruling prohibits abortion providers from sending chemical abortion drugs through the mail, which the FDA had been allowing since 2021. Additionally, in 2016, the FDA extended the permissible gestational age during pregnancy for which a girl or woman may take chemical abortion drugs from seven to 10 weeks, removed two of three required office visits, allowed non-doctors to prescribe the drug regimen, and eliminated the requirement that providers report non-fatal adverse events to the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System. The 5th Circuit also held that the FDA’s 2016 action violated the Administrative Procedure Act and upheld the district court’s conclusion reinstating the original 2000 safeguards.
The decision will not go into effect until the Supreme Court has the opportunity to review it. The Biden administration intends to appeal the decision to the High Court. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing four medical associations and four doctors experienced in caring for pregnant and post-abortive women in this lawsuit.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
August 15, 2023
The Frederick Douglass Foundation v. District of Columbia
In a major free speech ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit allowed the First Amendment claims of two pro-life organizations that sought to chalk a pro-life message on a city sidewalk to move forward.
In June 2020, the D.C. mayor commissioned a mural reading “Black Lives Matter” in permanent yellow paint. Protestors quickly added their “Defund the Police” message to the mural and painted other permanent protest art on D.C. streets and private property. The city left these favored messages in place for months. Yet when the Frederick Douglass Foundation and Students for Life of America sought to use chalk to display a different message—“Black Pre-Born Lives Matter”—on a public street outside of the D.C. Planned Parenthood facility, police arrested them. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represented both organizations in court.
Thankfully, the court’s ruling affirms that free speech is for everyone and that city officials can’t censor messages they disagree with.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
July 31, 2023
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic v. Stein
Alliance Defending Freedom filed a response brief on behalf of North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger asking the court to uphold the state’s pro-life laws. Abortionists are challenging North Carolina’s amended pro-life laws, including the state’s requirement that doctors perform an ultrasound to screen for an ectopic pregnancy before distributing chemical abortion drugs and mandating that abortions be performed in a hospital after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
North Carolina should be free to protect the health and safety of women and girls, safeguard life, and ensure that women have real support.Press Release Case Documents
July 26, 2023
Alliance Defending Freedom has favorably settled a case against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville officials on behalf of former art therapy grad student Maggie DeJong.
In February 2022, SIUE officials issued no-contact orders against DeJong, prohibiting her from having “any contact” or even “indirect communication” with three fellow graduate students who complained that her expression of religious and political viewpoints constituted “harassment” and “discrimination.” After receiving a letter from ADF, the university eventually rescinded the no-contact orders and closed its baseless investigation of DeJong, but not before violating her First Amendment rights and tarnishing her reputation.
As part of the settlement agreement, ADF attorneys will conduct a First Amendment training session with three professors at SIUE. University officials also agreed to revise both their policies and student handbook to ensure students with varying political, religious, and ideological views are welcome in the art therapy program. In addition, university officials paid $80,000 in damages and attorneys fees.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
July 25, 2023
National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Clark
Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates and two pregnancy care centers challenging a Vermont law unconstitutionally restricting the centers’ speech and provision of services.
In May 2023, Gov. Phil Scott signed SB 37 into law. The law censors the centers’ ability to advertise their services and precludes the ability of centers to offer even non-medical services, information, and counseling unless provided by a licensed health care provider. The law applies only to pro-life pregnancy centers, who do not provide or refer for abortion. An abortion clinic that provides identical information would not be subject to the law. Under the law, the state attorney general also has the authority to fine pregnancy centers up to $10,000 if she believes its life-affirming messages are “misleading,” which the law does not define.
Pregnancy centers should be free to serve women and offer the support they need without fear of unjust government punishment.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
July 19, 2023
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a supplemental notice with the Colorado Supreme Court asking it to apply that ruling and similarly affirm the First Amendment right of cake artist Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop to create custom art promoting messages consistent with his beliefs. An activist attorney and Colorado officials have misused the same state law that was at issue in 303 Creative to punish Phillips for more than a decade.
Phillips, now in his third lawsuit, appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court in April 2023 after a lower appeals court held that the state can force Phillips to express messages that violate his beliefs. But as the Supreme Court affirmed in the 303 Creative decision, the government can’t force Americans to express things they don’t believe. Free speech is for everyone, and the government can’t misuse public-accommodation laws to compel Jack to create custom art expressing messages he does not believe.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
July 18, 2023
Bloch v. Bouchey
David Bloch founded the snowboarding team at Woodstock Union High School in 2011 and has served as head coach every year since. Under his leadership, the program has had success both on and off the slopes, including a number of individual state champions. Bloch is also a practicing Roman Catholic who believes that God creates males and females with immutable sex, and that, based on scientific evidence, there are only two sexes as determined by a person’s chromosomes.
In February 2023, Bloch’s team was set to compete against a team that had a male snowboarder who identifies as a female and competes against females. After overhearing a conversation between two of his athletes discussing the snowboarder, Bloch joined the conversation, commenting that biological differences give males an advantage in athletic competitions. The conversation was respectful, lasted no more than three minutes, and took place entirely outside the presence of the snowboarder in question.
But for sharing those views in that brief conversation, school officials terminated his employment and barred him from future jobs in the school district. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Coach Bloch to vindicate his right to free speech.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
July 17, 2023
Chelsey Nelson & Emilee Carpenter
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis, Alliance Defending Freedom is asking two federal courts of appeal to affirm the First Amendment rights of two photographers and bloggers: Chelsey Nelson and Emilee Carpenter. ADF filed supplemental briefs in both cases explaining why 303 Creative protects the photographers’ freedom to create messages consistent with their faith.
ADF filed suit on Nelson’s behalf to stop the city of Louisville from threatening her and violating her First Amendment rights by forcing her to create messages about marriage that she does not believe. In August 2022, a federal district court upheld Nelson’s freedom to create photographs and write blogs that align with her religious beliefs. Louisville appealed that decision to the 6th Circuit.
In Carpenter’s case, ADF attorneys are asking the 2nd Circuit to uphold the photographer’s First Amendment rights and reverse a district court’s ruling that concluded the state of New York can force her to create photographs and blogs inconsistent with her beliefs. New York’s laws threaten Carpenter with fines of up to $100,000, a revoked business license, and up to a year in jail.Press Release Emilee Carpenter's Case Chelsey Nelson's Case
July 13, 2023
State of Texas and Mayo Pharmacy v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
A federal district court allowed a North Dakota pharmacy’s lawsuit against the Biden administration to proceed, rejecting the administration’s attempt to dismiss the case challenging the administration’s unlawful use of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to advance its radical abortion agenda.
In July 2022, HHS issued a mandate that requires pharmacies that serve patients with Medicare, Medicaid, or other federally funded coverage to stock and dispense elective abortion drugs. The Biden administration threatened legal action against any pharmacy that does not comply, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs.
In March 2023, Alliance Defending Freedom added Mayo Pharmacy—an independent pharmacy in Bismarck, North Dakota, run by Catholic pharmacist Kevin Martian, PharmD—to a lawsuit the state of Texas filed challenging the Biden administration’s mandate. In the amended complaint, ADF’s and Texas’ attorneys explain that the administration’s pharmacy mandate directly conflicts with multiple federal statutes and Texas’ pro-life laws.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
July 12, 2023
B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education
Newly obtained information has revealed that a middle-school male athlete competing on a West Virginia girls’ track team and suing to challenge the state’s law protecting women’s sports has displaced more than 100 female athletes more than 280 times and denied two girls spots in a conference championship.
In 2021, West Virginia enacted a law to ensure equal athletic opportunities for women. The male athlete, who attends Bridgeport Middle School, asked the 4th Circuit to halt enforcement of the law while on appeal so the athlete could compete on the girls’ track team. The court granted the request, relying on the athlete’s repeated assurances that the injunction “will harm no one.” However, since the court entered the injunction, the male athlete’s physical advantage and athletic ability have dramatically improved to the point that the athlete is repeatedly taking away athletic opportunities from girls.
In light of the significant new facts, Alliance Defending Freedom and the state attorney general’s office filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit asking it to suspend the injunction that is holding up full implementation of the law.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
July 11, 2023
Hodes & Nauser v. Kobach
Since 1997, Kansas has guaranteed reasonable, commonsense measures to ensure that women undergoing abortion do so only after they are fully informed and voluntarily consent to the procedure. The Women’s Right to Know Act is designed to inform women of the risks of abortion, the alternatives to it, the stages of an unborn child’s development, as well as assistance available for those who choose to carry their babies to term. The statute also requires doctors to meet with women in advance to answer any questions the woman may have about the procedure.
Planned Parenthood and other abortionists in the state are challenging this law. Alliance Defending Freedom is serving as co-counsel with Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach’s office to defend the state’s pro-life and pro-woman law.Press Release ExplainerCase Documents
June 30, 2023
303 Creative v. Elenis
In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held 6-3 in 303 Creative v. Elenis that Colorado cannot punish graphic artist Lorie Smith for creating art consistent with her beliefs. The Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the free speech rights of all Americans, reaffirming that the government can’t force Americans to say things they don’t believe. The decision also ensures that states can continue to use public-accommodation laws to stop discrimination based on who someone is while also protecting everyone’s right to free speech.Press Release Explainer Case DocumentsLorie's Reaction
June 21, 2023
Darren Patterson Christian Academy v. Roy
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Darren Patterson Christian Academy against Colorado state officials for forcing the school to choose between staying true to its religious beliefs and participation in the state’s universal preschool program.
In April 2022, Colorado enacted a law that guarantees every four-year-old in the state at least 15 hours per week of state-funded preschool services for the upcoming school year. Darren Patterson Christian Academy in Buena Vista obtained approval to participate in Colorado’s new universal preschool program, set to go into effect July 2023. However, the Colorado Department of Early Childhood is requiring that for schools to participate in the program and receive critical state funding, they must hire employees who do not share their faith and alter internal rules and policies that are based on the schools’ religious beliefs about sexuality and gender—including those that relate to restroom usage, pronouns, dress codes, and student lodging during and field trips. Unless the school agrees to violate its religious beliefs, it will lose valuable tuition reimbursement from the state.
The government may not deny participation in a public program simply due to a school’s religious beliefs.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
June 20, 2023
Kerr v. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic
In light of its recent decision in Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County v. Talevski, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Alliance Defending Freedom's petition in Kerr v. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, vacated the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit's decision, and remanded the case back to that court to reconsider its ruling. The outcome will decide whether pro-life states like South Carolina can direct Medicaid funds away from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
ADF had filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking it to hear the case and affirm that the Medicaid Act does not create a private right for Medicaid recipients to challenge a state’s decision about whether specific providers like Planned Parenthood are qualified to receive taxpayer funding.
States should be able to use taxpayer dollars consistent with their own laws. No citizen should have to fund facilities that perform life-ending procedures like abortion.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
June 5, 2023
Church of Compassion v. Johnson
For nearly twenty years, Church of Compassion’s preschool and daycare program, Dayspring Christian Learning Center, has participated in a federal food program that provides reimbursements for meals and snacks to needy children in El Cajon, CA. In 2022, however, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) unlawfully suspended Dayspring from participating in the food program simply because of their beliefs about human sexuality.
The Biden administration radically expanded its interpretation of the definition of “sex” in Title IX to include sexual orientation and gender identity. This led the CDSS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (which oversees the program) to issue new government mandates that would have forced the daycare to hire those who do not share its faith and adopt policies on restroom usage, dress codes, and pronouns that conflict with its religious beliefs.
Alliance Defending Freedom, the National Center for Law and Policy, and Advocates for Faith and Freedom are representing Church of Compassion and its daycare program for the right to maintain its religious beliefs while serving needy children. CDSS’s decision to remove Church of Compassion from the program directly hurts children in their community. The government should not let kids go hungry simply because they attend a Christian school.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
June 2, 2023
University at Buffalo Young Americans for Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing a Young Americans for Freedom chapter and three students at the University at Buffalo against university officials and the Student Association after they derecognized the conservative student group and disallowed them from receiving the same benefits as other student groups.
Young Americans for Freedom has existed as a registered student organization at the University at Buffalo since 2017 and has had over 100 members. But in March 2023, two weeks after Young Americans for Freedom hosted a conservative speaker on campus, the Student Association revised its policies that govern recognition of clubs and prohibited them from being chapters of national organizations. The timing of the revision together with the fact that the Student Association president sought legal counsel and told the Student Association Senate, “We all know why we’re doing this,” demonstrates that they were targeting Young Americans for Freedom and its views. Despite the new policy, other student organizations with similar purposes are still allowed to be chapters of outside organizations and receive official recognition.
Universities can’t pick and choose which student groups are allowed on campus.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
May 22, 2023
Barbieri v. Jeitschko
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing two students from Michigan State University after their professor, Amy Wisner, forced students to pay fees to advance political messages that conflict with the students’ deeply held beliefs.
Two students, Nathan Barbieri and Nolan Radomski, enrolled in Wisner’s “Business Communication” course, which is required for their degree at MSU. As a requirement for the course, Wisner compelled each of her nearly 600 students to pay a $99 membership fee to join an outside political advocacy organization called “The Rebellion Community”—a group which she controlled. She would then donate these proceeds (almost $60,000 just in that semester) to external groups like Planned Parenthood—groups that engaged in political activity antithetical to the students’ sincerely held religious beliefs.
This is a clear violation of the First Amendment. Professors cannot force students to fund their own political activism as a requirement for an academic course.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
May 18, 2023
New Hope Family Services v. James
Faith-based adoption provider New Hope Family Services secured a second victory against New York after having secured a favorable settlement and $250,000 in attorneys’ fees for a related lawsuit last month (New Hope Family Services v. Poole). In settlement of the second lawsuit, New York officials agreed to pay an additional $25,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs, and broadly confirmed New Hope’s right to continue its critical work of placing infants in permanent homes without government harassment.
On behalf of the Syracuse-based adoption agency, Alliance Defending Freedom filed New Hope Family Services v. James in September 2021 after the New York Division of Human Rights threatened to investigate and penalize the Christian nonprofit because it only places infants with couples consisting of a mother and father committed to each other in marriage.
Thankfully, two federal courts found that the state likely violated New Hope’s First Amendment rights by attempting to force it to place children in a manner inconsistent with its religious beliefs. Both settlements should ensure that New York will no longer target New Hope for its religious policies.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
May 18, 2023
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing a school counselor fired for speaking about a school district’s gender identity policy.
In August 2021, the South Madison Community School Corporation adopted a policy that required counselors and other employees to use names and pronouns for students that do not correspond with their sex, without requiring parental notification or consent. In some cases, it even required employees to hide these new names and pronouns from parents. Kathy McCord, a 37-year veteran in the education field, objected to this new policy, which compelled her to speak in ways that violate her sincerely held religious beliefs by deceiving parents. When a reporter asked McCord about South Madison’s policy, she confirmed the accuracy of information he had already gathered from other sources. Soon afterwards, he reported on the policy, and the school district fired McCord.
No educator should be fired for expressing her beliefs, especially when she speaks in her personal capacity, on her own time, and out of concern for her students.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
May 17, 2023
Planned Parenthood of Montana v. State of Montana (II)
On May 16, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed into law HB 721, which protects life and women’s health by prohibiting gruesome dismemberment abortions, a procedure that the state has determined is “brutal and inhumane.” Planned Parenthood is challenging this law, asking a state court to block its enforcement. Alliance Defending Freedom is serving as co-counsel with the Montana Attorney General’s Office against Planned Parenthood.
Every human life is valuable, and every baby deserves to be protected. By enacting this critical legislation, Montana has affirmed the basic human rights of vulnerable children, whether born or unborn, and protected mothers from substantial health risks.Press Release Case Documents
May 17, 2023
On behalf of a middle school student, Alliance Defending Freedom and the Massachusetts Family Institute filed a federal lawsuit against the Town of Middleborough and school officials for forbidding seventh grader Liam Morrison to wear a T-shirt to school that says, “There are only two genders.”
Morrison attends Nichols Middle School in Middleborough. In March, he wore the shirt to school to peacefully share his belief that there are only two sexes, male and female, and that a person’s gender—their status as a boy or girl, woman or man—is inextricably tied to sex. The principal of the school, along with a school counselor, pulled Morrison out of class and ordered him to remove his shirt. After Morrison politely declined, school officials said that he must remove the shirt or he could not return to class. As a result, Morrison left school and missed the rest of his classes that day.
Students don’t forfeit their free speech when they walk into a school building. School officials’ censorship of Morrison’s message and the school’s speech policy which led to these actions violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.Press ReleaseExplainerCase Documents
May 17, 2023
Christian Medical & Dental Associations
In a victory for religious medical professionals, the state of California will no longer force doctors to participate in physician-assisted suicide against their religious convictions and professional ethics.
California legalized physician-assisted suicide in 2015 with its passage of the controversial End of Life Options Act. Then, despite the medical-ethics consensus that no physician should be forced to participate in physician-assisted suicide even where the practice is allowed, California legislated to not only eliminate important safeguards from the End of Life Options Act, but also force conscientious physicians to participate in the process. In February 2022, Alliance Defending Freedom was retained by a doctor and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations to challenge this law.
Thankfully, a federal court granted a partial injunction against the law, halting its enforcement while the lawsuit proceeded. To settle the lawsuit brought by ADF, California state officials agreed to not pursue “any criminal or civil punishment, including professional discipline or licensing sanction for a California-licensed physician’s refusal or failure to” document a request, refer, or assist a patient in any way with ending his life. California has also agreed to pay $300,000 toward the doctors’ attorneys’ fees and costs.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
May 12, 2023
Skyline Wesleyan Church & Foothill Church
In a victory for religious freedom and life, ADF has resolved two lawsuits representing four churches against the state of California. Two federal courts have ruled that the First Amendment protects the churches’ right to decline elective abortion coverage in their health insurance plans.
In 2014, the California Department of Managed Health Care, at the behest of Planned Parenthood, issued a mandate requiring religious organizations to include coverage for abortions, regardless of moral or conscientious objections. In 2015, ADF began representing Foothill Church in Glendora, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino, and The Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch in one lawsuit challenging the mandate (Foothill Church v. Rouillard (now Watanabe)). In 2016, ADF also represented Skyline Wesleyan Church in the San Diego area in a separate lawsuit, Skyline Wesleyan Church v. California Department of Managed Health Care.
In August 2022, a federal court ruled in favor of the three churches in the Foothill case, leading California to concede the Skyline case as well. Given the courts’ rulings in these multi-year lawsuits, state officials have agreed to pay $1.4 million toward the churches’ attorneys’ fees.Press Release Skyline Wesleyan Church Foothill Church
May 4, 2023
Arizona Christian University
In response to an ADF lawsuit, the Washington Elementary School District voted to enter a new agreement allowing Arizona Christian University (ACU) students to teach in the district once again.
In February, the school district decided it no longer wanted to partner with ACU because of the university’s religious beliefs on marriage and sexuality, terminating the relationship without citing any complaint or issue regarding an ACU student or alumnus. This prompted ADF to sue the district, explaining that the district’s decision to end its relationship with the school because of its religious status and beliefs violated the university’s constitutionally protected freedoms.
As part of the settlement in the case, the new student placement agreement allows for an additional five years, to be renewed annually. The district also agreed to pay $25,000 in attorneys’ fees.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
April 27, 2023
Damiano v. Grants Pass School District 7
Alliance Defending Freedom and the Pacific Justice Institute are representing an Oregon teacher and administrator after they were suspended and then terminated for voicing their concerns about their district’s gender identity education policy.
Rachel Sager (formerly Damiano) and Katie Medart started the grassroots movement “I Resolve” to speak out on gender identity education policy and offer solutions that would allow teachers to continue teaching without violating their conscience and that would respect the rights of parents. But after they voiced concerns on their own online platform, they were eventually terminated, leading them to file a lawsuit against Grant Pass School District 7.
ADF attorneys have now filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit after a lower court ruled against their freedom of speech.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
April 24, 2023
Barr v. Tucker
In a victory for free speech, officials at McAllister Elementary and Bryan County Schools have agreed to reinstate Georgia Substitute teacher Lindsey Barr, pay $181,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees, and publicly express regret after violating her constitutionally protected freedoms.
In October 2022, Lindsey Barr was fired by Bryan County Schools merely for expressing concerns as a parent over drawings in a picture book being presented to students, including her own young children, at McAllister Elementary School during a library read-aloud program. The book, “All Are Welcome,” contains several illustrations of same-sex couples parenting and expecting children.
Lindsey should not have been punished for speaking out as a Christian, a mother, and a private citizen on an important issue. The First Amendment protects the right of Lindsey—and all public employees—to express their concerns about what schools are teaching children without the government cancelling them.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
April 21, 2023
Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration
The Supreme Court has paused a trial court’s decision that would have restored critical safeguards to chemical abortion drugs while the lawsuit seeking to reimplement those safeguards and halt the drugs’ approval proceeds. As is common practice, the High Court decided to maintain the status quo that existed prior to Alliance Defending Freedom’s lawsuit while the case moves forward.
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled to keep in place much of the trial court’s decision that protected the health and safety of women and girls. In response, the U.S. Department of Justice and Danco Laboratories, the main purveyor of chemical abortion drugs, filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court to halt the decision of the trial court.
With the Supreme Court’s decision, the case returns to the 5th Circuit to be decided on the merits. The appeals court has scheduled oral arguments for May 17.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
April 17, 2023
Women’s Health Center of West Virginia v. Sheth
In a victory for life, a West Virginia abortion facility dropped its lawsuit challenging the state’s health and safety regulations designed to protect unborn lives and women’s health.
In 2022, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, West Virginia largely replaced its previous pro-life law with the Unborn Child Protection Act, protecting unborn life from abortion in most circumstances. In this case, the abortion facility and one of its abortionists challenged two of the state’s health-and-safety regulations: one that requires surgical abortions to be performed in a hospital, and another that requires an abortion to be performed by a licensed medical professional who has West Virginia hospital privileges.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, assisted by attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom, had been defending the law, asking the court to leave abortion policy in the hands of the state’s elected representatives.Press Release Case Documents
April 13, 2023
Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled to keep in place a portion of a federal district court’s order that protects the health and safety of women and girls by requiring the Food and Drug Administration to restore critical safeguards to chemical abortion drugs while the lawsuit proceeds.
In its decision, the 5th Circuit ruled that abortionists are no longer allowed to send chemical abortion drugs through the mail, which the FDA had been allowing since 2021, in direct violation of longstanding federal law. Additionally, the ruling reduced the permissible gestational age of a baby for which a girl or woman may take chemical abortion drugs from 10 to 7 weeks gestation, reinstated necessary doctor visits, and brought back the requirement that abortionists must check women for complications after their chemical abortions. The 5th Circuit also agreed with Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys that the FDA’s approval of generic mifepristone was unlawful, and that the manufacturer must cease production by Friday.
Last week, a federal judge halted the FDA’s original approval of chemical abortion drugs. Following that ruling, the Biden administration and Danco Laboratories, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures chemical abortion drugs, filed emergency motions asking the 5th Circuit to pause the district court’s ruling. In response, ADF attorneys asked the appeals court to keep the district court’s ruling in place, which it partially did by requiring the FDA to implement critical safeguards.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
April 10, 2023
Johnson v. State of Wyoming II
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are representing Wyoming Representatives Rachel Rodriguez-Williams and Chip Neiman, Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray, and Right to Life of Wyoming in their effort to enter a case defending Wyoming’s Life is a Human Right Act. Shortly after the Wyoming Legislature enacted its Life is a Human Right Act, a group of abortionists and pro-abortion activists asked the court to halt enforcement of the law. The law seeks to preserve the lives of children and protect the health and safety of their mothers.
Life is a human right. States like Wyoming have an abiding interest in protecting women and unborn children, and groups like Right to Life of Wyoming have an interest in ensuring that their advocacy efforts on behalf of such laws are fully defended and vindicated.Press Release Case Documents
April 7, 2023
Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration
A federal district court ruled to protect the health and safety of women and girls by halting the Food and Drug Administration’s unlawful approval of chemical abortion drugs. The court’s order will go into effect in seven days, allowing time for the Biden administration to seek review from appellate courts.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys argued for this result on behalf of four medical groups and four doctors experienced in caring for pregnant and post-abortive women. The lawsuit is the first to challenge federal government officials for their illegal approval of chemical abortion drugs that harm women and girls.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
April 5, 2023
Lacy v. Torrez
In a win for life and medical conscience rights, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill that allows medical professionals to decline to participate in physician-assisted suicide due to their ethical convictions or religious beliefs.
In December 2022, ADF filed a lawsuit against the state of New Mexico for passing legislation that, in addition to legalizing physician-assisted suicide, compelled physicians who are conscientious objectors to facilitate suicide by informing patients about assisted suicide or by referring patients to physicians and organizations who will help end their lives. Physicians who declined to participate based on their religious beliefs or professional ethics could have faced substantial civil, administrative, and professional liability, including risking losing their medical licenses.
As a result of the ADF lawsuit, New Mexico hastily passed a new law affirming the right of medical professionals to decline participating in this process. With the new law being signed, ADF attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss their lawsuit.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
April 4, 2023
Young Americans for Liberty at University of Alabama in Huntsville v. St. John IV
In a victory for free speech at public universities, ADF attorneys representing a Young Americans for Liberty chapter and student-member Joshua Greer favorably settled their lawsuit challenging the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s free speech policy.
Student members of Young Americans for Liberty wanted to engage their peers in important policy debates about a variety of issues, including gun control, federalism, and other topics, but refrained from doing so for fear of violating the university’s burdensome speech policy. The policy required students to share their views on certain topics in specified “speech zones” and request approval to speak three days in advance. In addition, because the permits were subject to the university’s discretionary approval, this allowed administrators to pick and choose which events and viewpoints were allowed on campus.
Such a policy was a clear violation of the Alabama Campus Free Speech Act and the Alabama Constitution. College students have the freedom to share their beliefs anywhere on campus and shouldn’t need permission from college officials nor have to jump through burdensome hoops just to talk with their classmates outside.Press Release Case Documents
April 3, 2023
Jessica Bates is a mother of five who lives in Malheur County, Oregon. Jessica’s children are her greatest joy, and as a devout Christian, she wants to open her home to children in need. Though she is busy raising five children, Jessica felt called to pursue adoption when she heard a Christian broadcast about a man who had adopted a child from foster care.
But sadly, when Jessica applied to adopt, the state of Oregon denied her application because to give children a loving home, Oregon requires her to adopt the state’s view of human identity and sexuality. This left her with two options: abandon her beliefs or give up the possibility of adopting a child. That’s something Jessica couldn’t do—and shouldn’t have to do.
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Jessica against Oregon. The government cannot exclude families from foster and adoption programs solely because they are religious or because the state doesn’t like their particular religious views.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
March 27, 2023
Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a cert petition for the Supreme Court to hear the case of Brian Tingley, a licensed marriage and family counselor for over 20 years in the state of Washington. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit wrongly upheld a Washington law that censors conversations between clients and counselors who are minors by dictating which personal goals they can or can’t talk about on matters of gender, sexual orientation, sexual behaviors, or sexual attractions. The law threatens Brian with fines of up to $5,000 per violation, suspension from practice, and even permanent revocation of his license—if he counsels someone who want to become comfortable with their biological sex or focus on opposite-sex relationships. The law allows counselors to encourage gender identity exploration or a same-sex orientation.
The government has no business censoring conversations between clients and counselors. Neither should a counselor be used as a tool to impose the government’s views on his clients in opposition to the client’s own counseling goals and religious beliefs. The government has no right to block clients from receiving counseling that accords with their religious beliefs to help them live the life they want to live.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
March 9, 2023
B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education
Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion with the Supreme Court to vacate an injunction pending appeal issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The 4th Circuit halted an application of West Virginia’s law protecting women’s sports while providing no explanation. This motion presents the Supreme Court with its first chance to protect fairness in women’s sports from today’s threats.
Women and girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Everyone knows the truth that allowing males into women and girls’ sports creates disadvantages that threaten athletic opportunities for female athletes, but activists have rejected reality and chosen ideology over what’s just for women and girls. When we ignore science and common sense, girls and women are the victims. Laws like West Virginia’s should be protected.Press Release Explainer Case Documents Watch Video
March 9, 2023
Arizona Christian University
For the past 11 years, Arizona Christian University (ACU) and Washington Elementary School District, the largest elementary school district in Arizona, had a mutually beneficial partnership where students in the university’s elementary educational program would student-teach and shadow teachers in the school district.
That partnership, however, ended abruptly when the school district terminated its relationship with ACU because of the university’s religious beliefs on biblical marriage and sexuality, even though no complaints had been made about an ACU student or alumnus. The school district’s decision to end its relationship with ACU and its students because of their religious status and beliefs violates their constitutionally protected freedoms.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are representing ACU against the district, because the government cannot treat people of faith worse than everyone else. Students should not lose opportunities and be punished because of their religious beliefs.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
March 7, 2023
New Hope Family Services v. Poole
In a victory for vulnerable children awaiting adoption, as well as religious ministries, New York state officials have agreed to pay $250,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs after trying to shut down New Hope Family Services because of its religious beliefs.
New Hope Family Services is an adoption agency and pregnancy resource center. The nonprofit accepts no government funding and, besides the fees paid by adoptive parents, funds its ministry through support from churches, individual donors, and private grants. But for more than four years, the New York Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) threatened to close the nonprofit because of its policy, guided by its religious beliefs, of placing children it serves only in homes with a married mother and father.
Thankfully, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit and a federal district court upheld New Hope’s ability to place children entrusted to its care in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs, leading to the settlement. The settlement of the lawsuit ensures that the OCFS can no longer target the Syracuse-based adoption agency for its religious policies, and that it can continue serving the community by placing children in loving, permanent homes.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
March 2, 2023
Yakima Union Gospel Mission
Yakima Union Gospel Mission has served its community in Washington for the last 85 years. From July 2021 through June 2022, it provided shelter to nearly 1000 people, gave out over 130,000 meals, and reached over 500 homeless individuals through its outreach services. The Mission exists because of its Christian calling: it strives to serve the community with the love of Christ, to share the Gospel with everyone it encounters, and to be a haven of likeminded believers where discipleship and fellowship can flourish.
But a Washington law is threatening the ability of the Mission to hire individuals who agree with and live out its religious beliefs. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Mission against Washington state officials because the government cannot force religious organizations to hire people who hold differing religious beliefs. The Constitution protects the Mission’s right to hire employees—for any position—who adhere to and live out the mission's religious beliefs.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
March 1, 2023
State of Texas and Mayo Pharmacy v. Becerra
In July 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate that requires pharmacies that serve patients with Medicare, Medicaid, or other federally funded coverage to stock and dispense elective abortion drugs. The Biden administration is threatening legal action against any pharmacy or pharmacist that does not comply, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs.
Such is the case with Catholic pharmacist Kevin Martian, who runs Mayo Pharmacy in Bismarck, North Dakota. As a devout Catholic, Martian has operated his pharmacy in accordance with Catholic ethical and moral principles, including the teaching that human life begins at conception. As such, Mayo Pharmacy does not dispense drugs for abortion purposes; however, if the administration’s pharmacy mandate takes effect, the pharmacy will be forced to either stop serving customers who receive federal assistance or violate its religious beliefs.
Alliance Defending Freedom is seeking to defend the legally protected rights of religious pharmacists like Kevin to work in a manner consistent with their beliefs. That’s why we’ve joined with the state of Texas to file an amended complaint on behalf of Mayo Pharmacy. Unelected bureaucrats shouldn’t be forcing Americans to dispense abortion-inducing drugs against their conscience.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
February 28, 2023
Women’s Health Center of West Virginia v. Sheth
In 2022, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, West Virginia largely replaced its previous pro-life law with the Unborn Child Protection Act, protecting unborn life from abortion in most circumstances.
But a West Virginia abortion facility and one of its abortionists are challenging two of the state’s health-and-safety regulations designed to protect unborn lives and women’s health: one that requires surgical abortions to be performed in a hospital, and another that requires an abortion to be performed by a licensed medical professional who has West Virginia hospital privileges.
In response, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, assisted by attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom, urged a federal district court to leave abortion policy in the hands of the state’s elected representatives and deny the facility’s motion to halt enforcement of the law. West Virginia has a strong and compelling interest in protecting unborn life and maternal health and safety; and thanks to the state’s pro-life laws, it can do just that.Press Release Case Documents
February 27, 2023
College of the Ozarks v. Biden
Alliance Defending Freedom has asked the Supreme Court to hear the case of College of the Ozarks, a Christian college that aims to provide a faith-based education to its students. Sadly, its mission is being threatened by an executive order from the Biden administration, implemented through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The HUD mandate forces religious schools like College of the Ozarks to violate their beliefs by opening their dormitories, including bedrooms and shared shower spaces, to members of the opposite sex. It also requires them to modify their policies on “sex” discrimination to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” contradicting the historical interpretation of the Fair Housing Act in which “sex” means biological sex. The suit also argues that HUD violated procedural requirements by not allowing public notice and comment.
Directives such as this violate the constitutional right of College of the Ozarks and similar religious institutions to operate consistently with their religious beliefs. The government cannot force schools to open girls’ dorm rooms and showers to males.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
February 22, 2023
Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore
Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore is a Catholic bookstore in Jacksonville, FL that sells books, crucifixes, and other Catholic resources to the public. In everything it does, Queen of Angels and its owner Christie DeTrude strive to honor God and promote their Catholic beliefs, including through the store’s website and YouTube channel.
But a Jacksonville law requires businesses to use pronouns that reflect customers’ professed gender identity. The bookstore serves all customers and gladly sells any of its products to anybody, but the bookstore and Christie cannot speak messages that violate her faith. The law even forbids businesses from posting statements someone could see as unwelcoming, such as a statement explaining Christie’s belief that biological sex is immutable. If she does otherwise, the law threatens Queen of Angels with unlimited fines and damages.
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore in a lawsuit to protect Christie’s free speech and religious freedom to run the bookstore according to her faith.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
February 22, 2023
GenBioPro v. Sorsaia
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, assisted by attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom, filed a motion asking a federal court to dismiss an abortion drug manufacturer’s lawsuit challenging the state’s pro-life laws.
In September 2022, West Virginia enacted the Unborn Child Protection Act, a pro-life law protecting all life from abortion, with some exceptions. In the same legislative session, West Virginia also amended its law to require that chemical abortion drugs be dispensed in person (rather than prescribing via telehealth and sending through the mail) and require that only medically licensed doctors prescribe and dispense such drugs.
But GenBioPro, a major pharmaceutical company that manufactures chemical abortion drugs, sued the state of West Virginia for its commonsense laws that protect women and girls from these dangerous drugs. GenBioPro and the rest of the abortion industry are disregarding the health and safety of the women and girls and placing profits over people. That’s why ADF is stepping in to ensure that women have the health and safety protections they deserve.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
February 22, 2023
Bryant v. Stein
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the North Carolina President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in a lawsuit to defend the state’s laws protecting women and girls from harmful chemical abortion drugs.
Currently, North Carolina law protects women and girls from these dangers by requiring that abortionists be physically present when the drugs are administered, ensuring an ultrasound is performed in most circumstances to determine the gestational age of the baby and whether an ectopic pregnancy exists, including a 72-hour waiting period so abortion businesses are less likely to make women feel like abortion is their only option, having only physicians dispense the drugs, and requiring that physicians obtain informed consent from the patient before administering the drugs.
But an abortionist sued to challenge these commonsense laws. The abortion industry is disregarding the health and safety of the women and girls taking dangerous chemical abortion drugs just to bolster their business and sell more abortions. Women deserve health and safety protections like everyone else.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
February 7, 2023
New Yorkers for Religious Liberty v. City of New York
Until very recently, New York City mandated that its public employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine, even if doing so violated their religious beliefs. Yet the City was playing favorites. The mandate allowed exemptions for professional athletes, strippers, and entertainers, but not for firefighters, building inspectors, police officers, EMTs, teachers, sanitation workers, and other hardworking New Yorkers. Many of these heroes lost their careers, homes, and livelihoods because of New York’s discriminatory policy.
That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom is co-counsel for New Yorkers for Religious Liberty to represent these public servants. Governments should not force hardworking Americans to choose between earning a living and living out their faith.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
February 6, 2023
Isaacson v. Mayes
Since 2011, the state of Arizona has prohibited individuals from “perform[ing] an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex or race of the child or the race of a parent of that child.” In 2021, Arizona passed SB 1457, adding protections against discriminatory abortions by including a prohibition against abortions based on genetic anomalies, such as Down syndrome.
But two abortionists and three organizations who oppose the protections for babies with genetic anomalies filed a lawsuit, Isaacson v. Mayes, seeking to have SB 1457 struck down.
In an effort to prevent children from being killed simply for having a disability, attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom are representing the president of the Arizona State Senate Warren Petersen and the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives Ben Toma in a motion that asks a federal district court to allow the lawmakers to intervene in defense of the law.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
January 26, 2023
The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against cake artist Jack Phillips in the now third lawsuit he’s faced, Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, saying that Phillips’ one-of-a-kind custom art was not “protected speech under the First Amendment.” Phillips will appeal the decision that would force him to express messages that violate his sincere beliefs.
In 2018, an activist attorney called Masterpiece Cakeshop requesting that Phillips create a custom-designed cake, pink on the inside and blue on the outside, that would symbolize and celebrate a gender transition. The attorney then called back to request another custom cake depicting Satan smoking marijuana to “correct the errors of [Phillips’] thinking.” Phillips declined to create both custom cakes because they expressed messages that violate his core beliefs. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop had asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to uphold his First Amendment rights after a trial court issued a ruling that punished Phillips for declining to design the custom cake celebrating a gender transition.
The same law being used to punish Jack is also at issue now at the U.S. Supreme Court in 303 Creative v. Elenis. At oral argument in December, Alliance Defending Freedom asked the Court to reject Colorado’s attempt to mandate orthodoxy and drive views it disfavors from the public square. The Court should uphold the bedrock principle of free speech and affirm that graphic designer Lorie Smith and all artists—writers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, calligraphers, cake artists, and more—have the right to speak and create freely without fear of government punishment.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
January 25, 2023
In a victory for free speech and religious liberty, the Simpson County School District has agreed to change an unconstitutional policy that prohibited 3rd-grade student Lydia Booth from wearing a face mask with the phrase “Jesus Loves Me” on it.
In 2020, Lydia had wished to peacefully share her Christian views with her schoolmates by wearing her “Jesus Loves Me” face mask, but the principal at her school in the community of Pinola required her to remove and replace it even though she had previously worn the mask, without disruption or incident. Two days later, administrators announced a districtwide policy that prohibits messages on masks that are “political, religious, sexual or inappropriate symbols, gestures or statements that may be offensive, disruptive or deemed distractive to the school environment.”
ADF represented Lydia and her parents, and as a result of the lawsuit, the district has changed its policies to be viewpoint-neutral for political and religious expression. Under the settlement agreement, Simpson County School District will pay $45,000 and allow Lydia to wear her “Jesus Loves Me” face mask to school if she chooses to do so.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
January 13, 2023
Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education
A federal court dismissed a lawsuit filed by an activist group that was intended to prevent any students from using tuition grants, student loans, and any other federal financial assistance at schools that operate according to religious beliefs on gender or sexual morality. In October 2021, ADF intervened on behalf of three Christian post-secondary schools—Corban University, William Jessup University, and Phoenix Seminary—to defend the relevant provisions of Title IX, the federal law under attack. Among other things, Title IX allows students to use federal financial aid at private religious schools that operate according to their beliefs.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
January 5, 2023
In a huge win for women’s sports in West Virginia, a federal judge ruled in favor of a West Virginia law protecting women’s sports and ADF client Lainey Armistead, a former collegiate soccer player at West Virginia State University, who helped to defend the law.
In 2021, West Virginia passed the Save Women’s Sports Act, which enacted a commonsense regulation that prevented men from taking a spot from a deserving girl on women’s athletic teams. When laws fail to recognize legitimate biological differences, women and girls suffer the most. But the law was challenged in court, and a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily halted enforcement of the law. However, the federal district judge recently granted summary judgment in favor of Lainey and dissolved the preliminary injunction that was initially put in place. This allows the Save Women’s Sports Act to go into effect, protecting women’s sports in all of West Virginia.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
December 23, 2022
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic v. Moore
In a victory for expectant mothers and unborn children, Planned Parenthood and other abortion activists dropped their legal challenge against five North Carolina laws protecting women who may be seeking an abortion. These pro-abortionists were challenging the state’s prohibition on telemedicine abortions, a 72-hour informed-consent period, facility safety codes, the requirement that women be provided with informed-consent information, and a law ensuring that an abortion only be performed by a licensed physician. Now, after activists filed a voluntary dismissal, all five laws can remain in effect, helping ensure that women undergo these serious and dangerous procedures only when they are well aware of the risks and alternatives, and seen in person by a licensed physician in a facility equipped for medical emergencies.
Alliance Defending Freedom represented the North Carolina Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate in the lawsuit.Press Release Case Documents
December 22, 2022
Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish v. Nessel
Alliance Defending Freedom filed suit on behalf of a Grand Rapids-based parish and Catholic school, and several of the school’s families, against Michigan officials for violating their freedom under the First Amendment to practice and teach their Catholic faith.
The Michigan Supreme Court recently reinterpreted the prohibition on sex discrimination in Michigan’s Civil Rights Act and penal code to include sexual orientation and gender identity. That change would require Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish and its school, Sacred Heart Academy, to hire school faculty and staff who lead lives in direct opposition to the Catholic faith or would speak messages that violate Church doctrine. The change further requires the parish and its school to refrain from articulating its Catholic beliefs in teaching its students and when advertising the school to prospective students or job applicants. Additionally, by preventing Sacred Heart from operating its school consistent with its beliefs, state officials are violating the rights of parents—including the three families who have joined the lawsuit—who specifically chose to send their children to Sacred Heart Academy because the school aligns with their values and religious beliefs.
No government official has the right to force a Catholic institution like Sacred Heart to affirm positions contrary to the Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality, nor can they deprive parents of the fundamental right to make educational decisions for their children.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
December 19, 2022
Dr. David Phillips
Dr. Phillips is a well-respected English professor who has spent eight summers teaching at the Governor’s School, a residential summer program for the state’s most talented rising high-school seniors. For years, Phillips spoke out against the school’s increasing adoption of critical theory, an ideology that views everyone and everything through the lens of characteristics like race, sex, and religion, labeling people as perpetual oppressors or victims based on group membership alone.
After Phillips delivered three optional seminars in June 2021 critiquing critical theory and the increasing bias and lack of viewpoint diversity in higher education, North Carolina public school officials fired him mid-session without any explanation. When he asked why, he was told no explanation would be given, and that there was no appeal or other recourse. Phillips had always received glowing performance reviews without a single negative comment up until the point of the lectures.
Alliance Defending Freedom filed suit in state court on behalf of Dr. Phillips, because teachers shouldn’t be fired for fostering intellectual diversity on campus.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
December 16, 2022
Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit issued a disappointing ruling against ADF clients Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith, and Ashley Nicoletti. All are female athletes who have been denied championship titles, placements, or advancement opportunities due to a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference policy that allows males who identify as female to compete in girls’ athletic events. Alliance Defending Freedom is evaluating all legal options, including appeal. At the same time, ADF continues fighting in federal courts in West Virginia and Tennessee to protect biological reality, women’s sports, and simple fairness. Every woman deserves the respect and dignity that comes with having an equal opportunity to excel and win in athletics, and ADF remains committed to protecting the future of women’s sports.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
December 15, 2022
Ratio Christi at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
In a victory for free speech at public universities, a federal court entered a partial judgment against University of Nebraska-Lincoln officials who discriminated against Christian student organization Ratio Christi by failing to distribute money collected from mandatory student fees to student organizations in a fair, viewpoint-neutral manner. The parties settled the remaining claims after the university revised its funding policies to provide transparency and accountability in the process.
In October 2021, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit after the university denied Ratio Christi’s request of $1,500 in student activity funding to bring in Dr. Robert Audi, a respected philosopher who taught at Notre Dame. According to the university, it could not promote “speakers of a political and ideological nature.” To receive any funding, the university required Ratio Christi to “provide another spokesperson with a different ideological perspective” to counterbalance Dr. Robert Audi’s Christian views. However, the university spends thousands of dollars each year hosting and funding events that are political and ideological in nature without imposing that same requirement.
University officials should ensure that student organizations are treated fairly and objectively, not blatantly discriminated against because of a club’s particular religious or ideological viewpoint.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
December 15, 2022
Lacy v. Balderas
In 2021, New Mexico enacted the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act to legalize and promote physician-assisted suicide. The law requires even conscientious objectors to facilitate assisted suicide by advising patients to consider it and referring them to physicians and organizations who will participate in ending their lives. If physicians decline to participate based on their religious beliefs or professional ethics, they can face civil, administrative, and professional liability, including risking losing their medical licenses.
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, a national association of conscientious Christian health care professionals who oppose assisted suicide, and Dr. Mark Lacy, a licensed physician in New Mexico and member of CMDA. The government cannot force health care professionals to violate medical ethics or their religious convictions to practice medicine.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
December 13, 2022
Geraghty v. Jackson Local School District Board of Education
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Ohio teacher Vivian Geraghty, who taught English Language Arts at Jackson Memorial Middle School in Massillon until district officials forced her to resign in August. Jackson Local School District adopted a policy requiring teachers to personally participate in the “social transition” of students who express a gender identity inconsistent with their sex by using the students’ preferred names and pronouns. However, this would violate Geraghty’s sincerely held religious beliefs and scientific understanding that a person is male or female based on sex, not subjective feelings, and that participating in a student’s “social transition” would violate those beliefs by forcing her to communicate messages she believes are untrue and harmful to the student.
The principal and his superior told Geraghty that “she would be required to put her beliefs aside as a public servant,” or else resign. But this violates the First Amendment. It was unlawful for school officials to compel her resignation simply because she wanted to avoid using her voice to validate ideas that violate her faith and jeopardize her students’ wellbeing.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
December 12, 2022
Boe v. Marshall
In April 2022, Alabama passed a law prohibiting the administration of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries on minors who experience discomfort with their biological sex. These medical interventions can have harmful, lifelong, and irreversible consequences. A group represented by the Human Rights Campaign, SPLC, and others immediately sued, claiming that Alabama’s law violates parental rights and the right to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. The Biden administration also intervened to oppose Alabama’s law.
Alliance Defending Freedom is assisting the State of Alabama alongside the Alabama attorney general’s office and our co-counsel at Cooper and Kirk. ADF will work with Alabama’s experts who will testify to the scientific basis for the law and how dangerous these procedures are for children. No one has a right to harm children. Alabama’s law protects minors from harmful and unnecessary medical procedures being pushed by politicized medical associations and interest groups.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
December 7, 2022
Perlot v. Green
Victory! Three Christian law students and their faculty advisor favorably settled their lawsuit against University of Idaho officials and are free to speak in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs. As part of the settlement, university officials permanently rescinded the no-contact orders they had issued and paid $90,000.
In April and May 2022, University of Idaho officials issued no-contact orders against the students and faculty advisor after some of them were asked why their student group, the Christian Legal Society, requires its officers to agree with the orthodox Christian belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the students and faculty advisor filed the federal lawsuit because university officials violated the students and professor’s First Amendment rights by punishing them because of the religious content and viewpoint of their speech.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
December 7, 2022
Tice-Harouff v. Johnson
In a win for women, a federal court issued an order Tuesday restoring fertility awareness-based methods of family planning to health insurance plans nationwide that cover at least 58 million women. The court’s order restores language to requirements issued under the Affordable Care Act that provide women coverage for these alternative family planning methods. In December 2021, the Biden administration illegally eliminated it without responding to any public objections or giving any explanation for the change. And in May 2022, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff, a licensed nurse practitioner in Texas who provides patients with instruction in several different evidence-based fertility awareness methods of family planning.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
December 5, 2022
303 Creative v. Elenis
Today, Alliance Defending Freedom CEO, President, and General Counsel Kristen Waggoner argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Denver-area graphic artist and website designer Lorie Smith in 303 Creative v. Elenis. The case concerns a Colorado law that requires Smith to communicate messages inconsistent with her beliefs. Even though Colorado officials have admitted that she works with people from all walks of life, including those who identify as LGBT, that she chooses what to create based on the message requested rather than the person requesting, and that every custom website she creates conveys a unique message, the state still says it can force her to speak messages about marriage that contradict her core beliefs. Free speech is for everyone. No one should be forced to say something they don’t believe.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
December 1, 2022
E.W. v. French & A.H. v. French
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have favorably settled two lawsuits on behalf of several families and the Diocese of Burlington who sued state officials for discriminating against students and denying them a widely available tuition benefit because they attended religious schools. Under Vermont’s Town Tuition Program, in towns where public high schools are not operated, students were able to use this benefit at any public school in another district or approved secular private school they chose, but the towns denied the benefit to students who chose religious private schools because of the state's “adequate safeguards” requirement. As part of the settlements, state and local government officials agreed that based on the recent Supreme Court decision in Carson v. Makin, Vermont's “adequate safeguards” requirement is unconstitutional and unenforceable. The settlement also means that the plaintiff families who were wrongly denied this benefit by their school districts will be reimbursed for the tuition they paid out-of-pocket.Press Release Explainer E.W. v. French A.H. v. French
November 23, 2022
Wyoming Rescue Mission
Victory! Two months after filing a lawsuit on behalf of the Wyoming Rescue Mission, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys reached a favorable settlement with state and federal government officials.
Originally, a self-proclaimed non-Christian applied for a position for one of the mission’s thrift store associate positions—a role that is expected to teach the mission’s Discipleship Recovery Program guests how to spread the gospel, model Christ, and disciple one another. After the mission decided not to hire the applicant, the applicant filed a discrimination charge, and government officials conducted a 16-month long investigation, concluding that the mission likely violated the law. But after ADF filed suit to defend the mission, the government capitulated and settled.
As part of the settlement, state officials acknowledged that the rescue mission, as a religious organization, is free to hire like-minded employees who share the ministry’s religious beliefs and mission. The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also agreed to pay the rescue mission’s attorneys’ fees.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
November 18, 2022
Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration
In the first lawsuit of its kind, Alliance Defending Freedom is representing four national medical associations and four doctors against the FDA for illegally approving chemical abortion drugs that harm girls and women. When the FDA approved these drugs more than twenty years ago, it never studied the safety of the drugs under the labeled conditions of use, ignored the potential impacts of the hormone-blocking regimen on the developing bodies of adolescent girls, and disregarded the substantial evidence that chemical abortion drugs cause more complications than surgical abortions. The FDA later eliminated necessary safeguards for pregnant girls and women who undergo this dangerous drug regimen.
The FDA approved chemical abortion drugs without basis, stonewalled ADF’s clients and thereby evaded responsibility for years, and has removed what few protections were initially in place. This lawsuit is the culmination of decades-long efforts by ADF’s clients to hold the FDA accountable for its irresponsible actions and failing to abide by its legal obligations to protect the health, safety, and welfare of girls and women.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
November 4, 2022
Green v. Miss United States of America
United States of America Pageants is an independent, national pageant that produces live and broadcasted pageants designed to celebrate and empower women by providing them with development, public-speaking, networking, and confidence-building opportunities. But a male who identifies as a female sued USOA Pageants after learning that the pageant only allows women to participate in the event, even though the pageant offered to identify other pageants that allow males. Compelling the pageant to include males in its all-female production would change the pageant’s message of promoting women consistent with the pageant’s views on womanhood. No organization should be forced to express a message contrary to its purpose.
Thankfully, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that a female-only beauty pageant has the freedom to produce pageants consistent with its values and beliefs. Alliance Defending Freedom, alongside ADF network attorney John Kaempf, represented USOA Pageants in defending their freedom to operate their organization and speak consistently with their values.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
October 28, 2022
Blake and Travis Allen
Blake Allen, a student at Randolph Union High School, felt uncomfortable with a male being in the high school girl's locker room when the girls’ volleyball team was changing. Horrified and embarrassed, she left and talked to the school administration, but the school did nothing. Since then, Blake was suspended from school just because she expressed to friends her discomfort with a male watching the girls undress. As part of the suspension, the school would have required her to write a “reflective essay” and “take part in a restorative circle,” with the school itself judging whether she had done enough. Failure to comply would have resulted in three more days’ suspension. Thankfully, after we sued, the school dropped Blake’s suspension and this other discipline. However, when Blake’s father, Travis, defended his daughter on social media, he was suspended from his position as a coach at the middle school.
All Blake and Travis did was point out that a transgender student is in fact a male and it cost Travis his coaching position and got Blake suspended from school. That is why ADF has stepped in to defend Blake and Travis from this unjust treatment. No one should get suspended from school or their job simply for voicing their opinion or calling a male a male.
(Photo credit: Jessica Allen)Press Release Explainer Case Documents
October 3, 2022
Barr v. Tucker
Lindsey Barr was fired from her position as a substitute teacher at McAllister Elementary School after she expressed concern to the school administration about an inappropriate book that was being read to all students—including two of her own children—as a part of a library readaloud program. The book, “All Are Welcome,” contains several illustrations of same-sex couples parenting and expecting children. These pictures conflict with Lindsey’s sincerely held religious views on marriage and family—including that marriage should be between one man and one woman, and that family formation should occur within the confines of heterosexual marriage. Within hours of expressing her views to the principal, Lindsey was locked out of the system she used to obtain substitute assignments. Days later, the principal told Lindsey that, although her children would be excused from the read aloud program, the principal was firing Lindsey because she had expressed her views.
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Lindsey because teachers shouldn’t be fired for expressing genuine concern about what is being taught in schools—especially when it’s being taught to their own children.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
September 22, 2022
Hiers v. The Board of Regents of the University of North Texas System
In a victory for free speech on public university campuses, the University of North Texas has agreed to pay $165,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees for violating a math professor’s First Amendment rights when it fired him for writing a joke on a chalkboard in the teachers’ lounge that criticized microaggressions.
Alliance Defending Freedom represented Nathaniel Hiers in his lawsuit against the university. After discovering flyers in the mathematics department’s faculty lounge about “microaggressions,” Hiers jokingly wrote on the chalkboard, “Please don’t leave garbage lying around,” with an arrow pointing to the flyers. The following week, the head of the math department fired Hiers by cancelling his contract to teach in the spring, admitting that he fired Hiers because he criticized the flyers and didn’t express “honest regret” about his actions.
Public universities can’t fire a professor just because they disagree with the professor’s personal viewpoint. The First Amendment guarantees Dr. Hiers—and every other American—the right to express his viewpoint without government punishment.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
September 20, 2022
Wyoming Rescue Mission
Wyoming Rescue Mission has served the people of Casper, WY since 1978 by providing free meals, shelter, recovery programs, clothing and essential items, and biblical classes. The Mission is a Christian ministry, and its religious beliefs compel it to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, serve the less fortunate, and disciple fellow believers. So, it requires all its employees to adhere to those beliefs in fulfilment of its purpose and mission. But when the Mission did not hire a self-proclaimed “non-Christian,” the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission launched an investigation and determined that the Mission likely discriminated in violation of state and federal law. The state agency even tried to have the Mission pay thousands of dollars in back pay, post compliance notices, and give its leadership and employees mandated “reeducation” training, among other things. The state agency’s and EEOC’s current enforcement of the law threatens the Mission’s ability to further its religious purpose and to continue operating according to its religious beliefs.
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Mission as it seeks judicial relief to hire those who share its faith and to continue operating in accordance with its Christian beliefs. ”Press Release Explainer Case Documents
September 7, 2022
New Hope Family ServicesA federal court issued an order permanently preventing the state of New York’s Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) from shutting down New Hope Family Services, a faith-based adoption provider. New Hope operates as an adoption agency, temporary-foster-placement agency, and pregnancy resource center. The nonprofit accepts no government funding and, besides the fees paid by adoptive parents, funds its ministry through support from churches, individual donors, and private grants. The OCFS singled out New Hope for its policy, guided by its religious beliefs, of placing children it serves in homes with a married mother and father—even after it had praised New Hope for the quality of its services. The permanent injunction prohibits OCFS from enforcing state law “insofar as it would compel New Hope to process applications from, or place children for adoption with, same-sex couples or unmarried cohabitating couples, and insofar as it would prevent New Hope from referring such couples to other agencies.”
Press Release Explainer Case Documents
September 6, 2022
Christian Medical and Dental AssociationIn a victory for life and free speech, a federal district court ruled that a California law likely violates the First Amendment rights of medical professionals by requiring them to participate in physician-assisted suicide (PAS) against their religious convictions and professional ethics. In 2015, California legalized PAS with the passage of the controversial End of Life Options Act. Then, in 2021, California amended the law by not only eliminating important safeguards from PAS but also forcing physicians with conscientious objections to participate in the process by requiring them to facilitate the patient’s access to suicide drugs. ADF and ADF network attorney Catherine Short of the Life Legal Defense Foundation represent Dr. Leslee Cochrane and Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA), a national association of conscientious Christian health care professionals whose personal religious convictions and professional ethics oppose the practice of PAS.
Press Release Explainer Case Documents
August 31, 2022
Ricard v. USD 475 Geary County Schools School Board Members
In a victory for free speech at public schools, Fort Riley Middle School officials have agreed to pay $95,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees for violating Pamela Ricard’s First Amendment rights. Ricard was challenging a school district policy that forced her to use a student’s “preferred name” to address the student in class while using the student’s legal name when speaking to parents—actions that violated her conscience. The school had reprimanded and suspended her for not complying with this policy. Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom and Kriegshauser Ney Law Group represented Ricard in her lawsuit against school officials, who have now agreed to issue a statement that she was in good standing without any disciplinary actions against her at the time of her retirement in May.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
August 31, 2022
Chelsey Nelson Photography
Victory! A federal court ruled that Chelsey Nelson, a Louisville-based photographer and blogger, is free to express messages that align with her religious beliefs about marriage. A Louisville law required her to create photographs and blogs promoting same-sex wedding ceremonies because she also did so for weddings between a man and a woman. The law also forbade her from publicly explaining her religious reasons for only creating photographs and blogs celebrating weddings between a man and a woman. Chelsey’s lawsuit is similar to 303 Creative v. Elenis, which will be argued before the Supreme Court this December. In 303 Creative v. Elenis, ADF represents Colorado graphic artist and website designer Lorie Smith to protect her freedom and her art studio.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
August 29, 2022
Christian Healthcare Centers v. Nessel
Christian Healthcare Centers is a religious ministry that has provided high-quality primary medical care to people of western Michigan since 2017, including to those who cannot afford medical care. But recently, Michigan courts interpreted certain state laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Now, contrary to their beliefs and medical judgment, the ministry must provide cross-sex hormones, address people with pronouns inconsistent with their biological sex, and even hire employees who do not share the ministry’s religious beliefs. These requirements threaten the ministry’s ability to provide safe, high quality medical care to the community consistent with their faith.
That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Christian Healthcare Centers in a lawsuit against the State of Michigan to protect their ability to serve all people in a manner consistent with their beliefs.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
August 19, 2022
ADF Board names new president, CEO
Alliance Defending Freedom announced Kristen Waggoner as its new president and CEO. Waggoner will assume the post on Oct. 1, succeeding Michael Farris, who joined ADF in January 2017, and Alan Sears, who served 23 years as the founding CEO. Under her leadership on the U.S. legal team, ADF has secured 13 of ADF’s 14 U.S. Supreme Court wins since 2011. Since Farris and Waggoner joined, ADF has been recognized as a legal powerhouse defending freedom of speech, religious liberty, life, marriage and family, and parental rights. At the close of the 2021 fiscal year in June, ADF crossed the $100 million revenue threshold. Michael Farris will continue to serve ADF in key areas related to his expertise.Read Full Press Release
August 18, 2022
Dr. Andrew Fox
In 2014, Dr. Andrew Fox created the Fire Chaplaincy Program at the Austin Fire Department. For eight years, he has worked and led the volunteer firefighter chaplain program, ministering to firefighters, their families, and fire victims—all without pay. Dr. Fox has welcomed and worked with all people, earning a spotless record without a single complaint against him. But one day, on his own personal blog, Dr. Fox commented that it is unfair for men to be competing in women’s sports due to their biological differences. An anonymous source complained, which led to his department pressuring Dr. Fox to recant and apologize for the blog post. Because Dr. Fox has deep religious convictions, he could not take back what he said, and for that, Dr. Fox was dismissed from his role.
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Dr. Fox against the City of Austin, because every American should be able to speak freely on what they believe without being silenced or punished by the government.
Photo credit: Anna KraftPress Release Explainer Case Documents
July 27, 2022
Grant Park Christian Academy v. Fried
ADF is representing Grant Park Christian Academy, a pre-K – 8th grade school that serves low-income students primarily from a minority community in Tampa, Florida. The Biden Administration has mandated that all school lunch program recipients like Grant Park Christian Academy adopt sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination policies, on pain of losing lunch money. The US Department of Agriculture, which co-enforces Title IX and oversees school lunches, has ordered immediate compliance. And applications for next year’s lunches are required to submit a written assurance of compliance.
Grant Park Christian Academy is part of the Faith Action Ministry Alliance and holds to Christian beliefs about marriage and biological sex. But the Biden Administration is prioritizing a radical gender and sexual ideology and forcing Grant Park Christian Academy to choose between their sincerely held beliefs and receiving federal lunch money to feed their students. Many of Grant Park Christian Academy’s students attend the school on government-funded scholarships. The meals they receive at Grant Park Christian Academy are sometimes the only meal these kids will eat in a day and the families rely on Grant Park Christian Academy for these meals. The Biden Administration should repeal this harmful and unnecessary policy and it should respect the religious exemptions that the law provides.
Photo Credit: Grant Park Christian AcademyPress Release Explainer Case Documents
July 13, 2022
ADF Attorneys Defend Life Before Congress
ADF attorneys Denise Harle and Erin Hawley testified before Congress concerning the impact of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. On July 12, Denise Harle testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, “A Post-Roe America: The Legal Consequences of the Dobbs Decision” alongside ADF client Heidi Matzke. On July 13, Erin Hawley testified before the U.S. House Oversight Committee at its hearing, “The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs Decision on Abortion Rights and Access Across the United States.” Erin was the only pro-life expert who testified against five other pro-abortion advocates that the committee called. Both Denise and Erin admirably defended the sanctity of unborn human life, demonstrated how abortion harms women, and dispelled common lies and myths being perpetuated about the implications of the Dobbs decision.Read Erin Hawley’s Testimony Commentary by Denise Harle
June 27, 2022
Kennedy v. Bremerton School District
In another win for religious liberty this term, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of football coach Joseph Kennedy, who had lost his job after he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet, 30-second, personal prayer. Writing for the majority, Justice Gorsuch held that Coach Kennedy’s religious expression is protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court also formally recognized its abandonment of Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), a case which had long been used to undermine religious freedom.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
June 24, 2022
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
Victory! On June 24, 2022, The Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that wrongly found a constitutional right to abortion. With Roe gone, states are now empowered to protect and support the lives of women and their babies. ADF was honored to be able to work alongside Mississippi in drafting and defending the Gestational Age Act before the Supreme Court, and along with the rest of the pro-life movement, will continue to work with state legislatures to ensure that life as a human right is protected across the country.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
June 21, 2022
Carson v. Makin
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that Maine cannot exclude private religious schools from a generally available government program for which they otherwise qualify. Maine has a tuition assistance program for parents who live in school districts without a secondary school. The program allows parents to send their children to the school of their choice, so long as it does not provide a religious education or adopt a faith-based curriculum. In Carson v. Makin, the Supreme Court held that Maine may not discriminate against religious schools. This decision is an important one as it clarifies that discrimination based on religious use is just as unconstitutional as discrimination based on religious character or status.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
June 6, 2022
Figliola v. Harrisonburg City Public School Board
ADF is representing a group of Harrisonburg City Public School (HCPS) teachers and parents who are objecting to an HCPS policy forcing teachers to lie to parents if their child requests to be called by a different name or pronoun. The policy requires that HCPS staff must “always use a student’s preferred name and pronouns” and that “If the parent/guardian is NOT aware, you should utilize the student’s preferred name at school but not in any communication with the parent/guardian.” Public schools should never hide information from or lie to parents about a child’s mental health. And schools should never compel teachers to be complicit in such deception. This policy violates parental rights, free speech, and religious liberty and ADF’s recently filed lawsuit asks the court to stop its operation immediately.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
May 31, 2022
Maggie DeJong was a graduate student in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Art Therapy program. While in her program, Ms. DeJong, like other students, would express her beliefs publicly on social media, during class, and in discussions with other students. But in February 2022, the university informed her that three students had taken out a “no contact” order against her but gave no reason as to why such an order was issued. Though Ms. DeJong did not engage in any misconduct, University officials threatened “disciplinary consequences” if she violated the no-contact orders. She eventually learned that many of her views were deemed “harmful” by students. ADF is representing Ms. DeJong in a lawsuit against the university for violating her civil and constitutional rights.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
May 25, 2022
Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff
Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff is a family nurse practitioner from Longview, Texas with a doctorate in nursing practice. She is licensed in several states, providing patients with instruction in several different evidence-based fertility awareness methods of family planning. Since 2016, such services were required to be covered under the Affordable Care Act, but in 2021, the government issued a decision to delete the language that guaranteed coverage of fertility awareness-based methods of family planning. However, the government unlawfully circumvented the normal notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures to make such a change, and it failed to provide justification for this change. This decision was arbitrary, not the product of reasoned decision-making. Such actions will ultimately harm women and their healthcare professionals who depend on these insurance benefits. With the help of ADF, Dr. Tice-Harouff is challenging the government’s actions.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
April 26, 2022
Perlot v. Green
Three members of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) and their faculty advisor at the University of Idaho received no-contact orders from the University’s Office of Civil Rights and Investigations. Why? Because another student asked them about their group’s views on marriage and they respectfully explained their organization’s position that requires its officers to affirm the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, the only view of marriage and sexuality affirmed in the Bible. Despite having had disagreements with some students, neither the CLS members nor their professor received notice that anyone had officially complained about them, nor were they given an opportunity to review the allegations against them or defend themselves. Instead of allowing the students to disagree civilly and respectfully with one another and permitting students and professors to discuss these important issues, the University chose instead to censor them. ADF is representing these three students and their professor for violations of their First Amendment rights.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
April 18, 2022
Emily Mais was an assistant principal at Angor-Hurt Elementary School, which is part of Albemarle County Public Schools in Virginia. She loved her job, and every school she worked at acknowledged her exemplary service. But when the school implemented teacher trainings that assigned negative or positive characteristics to people based solely on skin color, Emily voiced her concerns. She was ignored. In the final training session about the racial breakdown of the school’s employees, Emily suggested gathering more data to get a more complete picture. During this presentation, she inadvertently used the term “colored” instead of “people of color”—for which she immediately apologized. Despite her continued apologies, the school staff berated her for months. They called her names, mistreated her, and demonized her for a slip of the tongue. Emily was eventually forced to resign for the sake of her physical and mental health.
Public schools should not foster race-based division and resentment, but that is exactly what Albemarle County Public Schools is doing. That is why ADF has filed a lawsuit on Emily’s behalf for the school board’s creation of a racially hostile work environment.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
April 14, 2022
After a three-year legal journey, philosophy professor Dr. Nicholas Meriwether has favorably settled his case with Shawnee State University. The university had punished Dr. Meriwether for declining to speak a message against his deeply held beliefs: referring to a male student with feminine titles and pronouns. ADF filed suit, and in March 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in Dr. Meriwether’s favor, saying that, based on the facts in the complaint, the university had violated his right to free speech. In the settlement, the university agreed to pay $400,000 in damages and attorney’s fees, remove the written warning from his file, and affirm his right to avoid using titles or pronouns that conflict with his beliefs.Press Release Explainer Case Documents Video Story
March 3, 2022
The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to take up our case Vlaming v. West Point School Board after a lower court failed to protect the religious freedom and free speech rights of Peter Vlaming. Mr. Vlaming was a high school French teacher who was fired for avoiding the use of male pronouns with a female student, even though he consistently used the student’s chosen name. ADF will argue for the Virginia Supreme Court to uphold Mr. Vlaming’s constitutional rights and the rights of all teachers in Virginia to not be forced to contradict their core beliefs.Press Release Explainer Case Documents Meet Peter
February 22, 2022
Mrs. Smith is going to Washington! The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Denver-based graphic designer and artist Lorie Smith in 303 Creative v. Elenis. A Colorado public-accommodation law threatens to censor and coerce speech of creative professionals whose religious beliefs conflict with government orthodoxy. This is the same law which has been used to target Jack Phillips. The High Court will review whether such laws violate of the First Amendment when used to “compel an artist to speak or stay silent”. ADF looks forward to representing Lorie at the Supreme Court.Press Release Explainer Case Documents Lorie's Reaction
February 7, 2022
C.I. v. Albemarle County School Board
An ethnically and religiously diverse group of nine parents and their children, represented by ADF, are asking a Virginia court to halt the implementation of discriminatory policies and curriculum. Albemarle County School Board’s “Anti-Racism” policy indoctrinates students in critical race theory, a radical ideology that teaches them to view everything through the lens of race. The policy would encourage differential treatment on the basis of race and compel students and teachers to affirm ideas contrary to their deeply held moral and religious beliefs or be labelled a racist. Such policies violate their constitutional rights.Press Release Explainer Case Documents
January 26, 2022
OSHA Withdraws COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate!
In a victory against government overreach, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) withdrew its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that created a nationwide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large, private employers. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court issued a per curiam opinion halting implementation of the Biden administration’s mandate. Americans may have different opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine, but every American should agree that the Biden administration’s mandate was a vast and unlawful executive power grab.Press Release Explainer Case Documents