When government agents deny a citizen’s right to pray in the home, should they be shielded from liability by legal loopholes and technicalities? It’s a question the Supreme Court may have to answer in the near future.
For Mary Anne Sause, the answer could bring long-awaited relief. In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled against Ms. Sause in a lawsuit where she claimed her religious rights had been violated.
The appeals court assumed the truth of Sause’s claim that two police officers violated her rights when they ordered her to stop praying during an incident in her own home, even though her prayer was peaceful and orderly. But the court ultimately ruled against Ms. Sause because of a technical legal doctrine called qualified immunity. Essentially, the court dismissed the case because the facts were so unusual and egregious that they hadn’t encountered a similar case before.
If government officials such as police officers can violate religious freedoms and be shielded from consequences, religious liberty is in peril.
First Liberty is appealing this shocking denial of a basic constitutional right. On November 17, attorneys for First Liberty Institute and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on Sause’s behalf.
You can read the petition HERE