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Luke Goodrich
 
 

Cases

Luke Goodrich has litigated some of the most important religious liberty cases in recent memory.

 

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

 
 
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The federal government tried to force the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, to provide insurance coverage for drugs that could cause abortions—or else pay millions of dollars in fines to the IRS. Luke defended the Greens in the Supreme Court and won a landmark victory ensuring that people can practice their faith in the workplace.

 

 

EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School

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A disgruntled teacher sued her church, demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, after she had been dismissed from her job for violating church teaching. Luke defended the church in the Supreme Court and won a unanimous victory protecting the freedom of churches to choose their religious leaders.

 

 

Little Sisters of the Poor v. Azar

 
 
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The federal government tried to force the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns, to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives in violation of their religious beliefs. Luke defended the Little Sisters in the Supreme Court and won a victory protecting their freedom to serve according to their beliefs.

 

 

Holt v. Hobbs

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An Arkansas prison tried to force a Muslim prisoner to shave his religiously mandated beard, even though it allowed other prisoners to have beards for medical reasons. Luke defended the prisoner in the Supreme Court and won a unanimous victory protecting the ability of all prisoners to practice their faith consistent with the important demands of prison security.

 

 

Gaylor v. Mnuchin

 
 
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An atheist organization filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the “parsonage allowance”—a longstanding tax exemption that benefits ministers across the country. Luke argued the case in the Seventh Circuit and won a landmark victory sparing ministers almost $1 billion in new taxes per year.

 

 

Kondrat’yev v. City of Pensacola

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Several atheists and a Satanist sued the City of Pensacola, alleging that a World War II-era cross memorial was “offensive” and unconstitutional. Luke is currently defending the City in court, arguing that the cross is not an “establishment of religion” but an important reminder of the City’s history and culture.

 

 

McAllen Grace Brethren Church v. Jewell

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An undercover federal agent infiltrated a Native American religious ceremony, confiscated sacred eagle feathers, and threatened a well-known pastor and feather dancer with criminal prosecution. Luke defended the pastor in court and won a landmark victory allowing his church to continue using eagle feathers in their religious practices.

 

 

Intermountain Fair Housing Council v. Boise Rescue Mission Ministries

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A group of activists sued a Christian homeless shelter, claiming that the shelter was engaging in religious “discrimination” by requiring members of a Christian rehab program to participate in religious activities. Luke defended the shelter in court and won a victory ensuring the shelter could maintain its religious mission.

 

 

Elijah Group v. City of Leon Valley

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A Texas town banned churches from its retail district in an effort to increase its tax revenues, even though it allowed other nonprofit assemblies like theaters, auditoriums, and private clubs. Luke defended the church and won a victory protecting their freedom to gather for worship.

 

 

Big Sky Colony v. Montana Department of Labor and Industry

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Lobbyists in Montana convinced the state to force the Hutterites, a small community of Christians, to begin paying “workers compensation” to their members—even though all members take a vow of poverty and receive no wages. Luke appealed their case to the Supreme Court and, after the Supreme Court declined to hear their case, helped negotiate a compromise that allowed them to maintain their faith.

 

 

Stormans v. Wiesman

 
 
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Abortion-rights activists pressured the State of Washington to pass a new regulation forcing pharmacies to sell drugs that can cause abortions, even when doing so would violate their religious beliefs. Luke defended a family-owned pharmacy and two Christian pharmacists in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

 

 

Rich v. Buss

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The State of Florida refused to provide a kosher diet to Orthodox Jewish prisoners, even though it provided a variety of special diets to prisoners with various medical needs. Luke defended a Jewish prisoner and won an important victory requiring Florida to provide kosher diets.

 

 

Davenport v. American Atheists

 
 
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Several atheists sued the State of Utah for allowing a private association of state troopers to erect white crosses to commemorate troopers who were killed in the line of duty. Luke was appointed a Special Assistant Attorney General to argue the case on behalf of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.

 

 

Merced v. Kasson

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A Texas town prohibited José Merced, a Santería priest, from conducting safe, humane animal sacrifices as part of his religious practices in his own home. Luke defended Merced in court and won a victory protecting the right of all people to practice their faith in their homes.

 

 

Slockish v. U.S. Federal Highway Administration

 
 
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The federal government authorized a highway widening project that carelessly bulldozed a centuries-old Native American sacred site. Luke is currently representing Native Americans in court seeking restoration of the site.

 

 

Islamic Center of Murfreesboro v. Rutherford County

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A small Muslim community in Tennessee was subjected to vandalism, arson, bomb threats, and a lawsuit seeking to prevent them from meeting in their house of worship. Luke defended the community in court and won a victory allowing them to use their house of worship.