Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

5 SCOTUS Cases to Watch

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2014 Feb 06

History tells us U.S. Supreme Court decisions often have a far-reaching impact on issues we care about – things like life, marriage and religious liberties.

To that end, I wanted to provide you with a list our experts compiled of SCOTUS court cases to watch. I hope this short summary will help you navigate the news.

As always, we encourage Christians to pray for the things that go on in our government. Pray for our Supreme Court justices, that God would grant them wisdom as they hear these cases.


Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius; and Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores

Issue: Does the HHS Mandate - requiring certain for-profit employers to include possible abortion-causing drugs in their employee health plans in violation of the owners’ conscience - violate the religious freedom rights of those businesses and/or their owners under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act?

Status: Oral argument – March 25, 2014; decision expected by end of Court’s term in late June.

Town of Greece v. Galloway

Issue: Does the legislative prayer practice of the town violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause because too many of the prayers are “Christian” even where there is no discrimination in the selection of prayer-givers, i.e., the opportunity is open to all faiths?

Status: Argued Nov. 6, 2013; decision expected February-March 2014.

McCullen v. Coakley

Issue: Is a Massachusetts law creating a 35-foot “bubble zone” around abortion clinic entrances – which prohibits sidewalk counselors from approaching women entering the clinic for the purpose of speaking to them – a violation of the First Amendment right of free speech?

Status: Argued Jan. 15, 2014; decision expected March-April 2014.

Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus

Issue: Does an Ohio election campaign law against “false statements” combined with an Election Commission “finding of probable cause” that SBA violated that law give SBA “standing” (i.e. the right to bring a lawsuit) to challenge the constitutionality of that law under the First Amendment’s free speech clause. SBA intended to (but didn’t) put up billboards during the 2010 campaign of U.S. Representative Steve Driehaus, accusing him of voting for the federal funding of abortion via his congressional vote for Obamacare.

Status: Accepted by SCOTUS in January 2014. No oral argument date scheduled yet, but will probably be in March/April. Decision expected by end of June.

Elane Photography, LLC v. Vanessa Willock

Issue: Does a state public accommodations statute that requires a photographer to create expressive images of a same-sex ceremony that conflict with her religious beliefs violate the First Amendment’s ban on compelled speech?

Status: The Christian photographer lost in the New Mexico state supreme court in August 2013; she has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the First Amendment free speech issue. (This request is called a “petition for cert”) No word from SCOTUS yet whether they will hear the appeal.

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