Chief Justice Roberts, along with Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor were in attendance during Pope Frances address to congress.
In a related SCOTUS news, Pope Francis visited the Little Sisters of the Poor as “a sign of support” for their opposition to the contraception mandate (I filed an amicus brief in support of the Little Sisters’ petition for certiorari).
.- Pope Francis paid a short visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor community in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to support them in their court case over the contraception mandate, the Vatican’s spokesman revealed.
It was a “short visit that was not in the program,” Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, said at an evening press conference during the papal visit to the nation’s capital.
“This is a sign, obviously, of support for them” in their court case, he affirmed. …
It was a “little addition to the program, but I think it has an important meaning,” Fr. Lombardi said.
He added that the visit “is connected” to “the words that the Pope has said in support of the position of the bishops of the United States in the speech to President Obama and also in the speech to the bishops.”
Pope Francis, with President Obama at the White House, called religious freedom “one of America’s most precious possessions” and had hearkened to the U.S. bishops’ defense of religious freedom. “All are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it,” he had said.
In response to the news of the visit with the sisters, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Bishops Conference, said that he was “so pleased” to hear of the visit.
“As you know the last thing the Little Sisters of the Poor want to do is sue somebody. They don’t want to sue in court,” he insisted. “They simply want to serve people who are poor and elderly, and they want to do it in a way that doesn’t conflict with their beliefs.”