State of the Union #SCOTUS Edition: Little Sisters of the Poor and Kim Davis to Attend

January 12th, 2016

Tonight during President Obama’s final State of the Union, there should be a strong #SCOTUS contingency. The Chief Justice will likely be there, along with Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor. Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, I’m sure will not be around.

But joining the Justices will be frequent litigants before the Court.

Speaker Paul Ryan (now without his beard) invited two members of the Little Sisters of the Poor:

Ryan, who is Catholic, announced Monday that Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, the order’s mother provincial, and Sister Constance Veit will sit in the Speaker’s Box during Tuesday’s address. “The Little Sisters of the Poor care for the most vulnerable among us, and they should be free to practice their faith without the threat of government interference or intimidation,” he said in a statement. “The Sisters’ stand in defense of religious liberty – one of our most fundamental rights – is nothing short of courageous, and it’s my privilege to support their cause.”

Sister Loraine submitted an affidavit in the district court litigation–I will discuss her more in my book.

And, if that wasn’t enough religious liberty litigation for you, Rep. Jim Jordan gave his ticket to the family Research Council, who in turn gave it to Kim Davis!

“I didn’t invite anyone,” Jordan initially said late Tuesday afternoon, as he was jogging to House votes. When pressed on whether he had given his ticket to the Family Research Council, which then gave it to Davis — which is what a Democratic aide told HuffPost had happened — Jordan said he would have to confirm with his office. “I don’t know,” he said.

“My understanding is they gave them to the Family Research Council,” Jordan said, promising to call his staff and get back in touch.

Jordan was later spotted in the Capitol basement, on the phone with his communications director, confirming what had happened.

“Yeah, so we gave a ticket to — at the request of the Family Research Council — we gave the ticket to Kim Davis’ family,” he said.

Jordan said he was fine with his ticket going to Davis, who has been lionized by many conservatives and chastised by many liberals for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and that the secrecy wasn’t intentional.

“I found out today,” Jordan said. “And I’m being totally honest with you: That’s — Family Research Council asked us, her family wanted a ticket, and we said ‘OK.'”

I’ll be watching to see if there is any other SCOTUS-related news.

Update: Here is Paul Ryan taking a selfie with the Sisters.