By Mark Kellner
June 30, 2014
WASHINGTON — Fewer than a dozen attorneys work for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a 20-year-old public interest law firm based in Washington, D.C.
But even with a small corps of lawyers, the firm is making its mark by seeking out — and often winning — cases that set law-changing precedents. On Monday, it added another precedent-setting ruling to its credit with a 5-4 Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores, supporting religious rights of for-profit corporations.
The narrow ruling marks the first time the nation’s top court specifically extended religious freedom protections to a corporation, rather than just individuals. And even if the high court had come down against Hobby Lobby, it was the kind of high-profile case that has set the Becket Fund apart since its founding. The firm looks specifically for opportunities to represent believers of all faiths — Muslims or, in the most recent case, evangelical Christians — who see their freedom to live their faith in jeopardy, with an eye toward not just protecting individuals, but also changing the law and the debate on issues of religious liberty.
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