In a stunning reversal of a lower court decision Thursday, the US Supreme Court sided with religious liberty, ruling unanimously that a Kansas woman does indeed have the right to pray in her own home.
The case, Sause v. Bauer, centers on Mary Anne Sause, a Louisburg, Kansas, woman and a devout Catholic, who was playing her radio in her home when, according to her attorneys, police were called to investigate “a minor noise complaint.”
Sause says the cops harassed her and threatened to take her to jail when she asked why she would be arrested. Sause says that’s when things escalated.
The retired nurse asked the officers for permission to pray silently, the officers allowed it and then ordered her to stop praying.
Sause later sued the officers, but their command was upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
NBC reports that the courts sided with the officers, ruling that although “the conduct of the officers was unprofessional, there was no court decision finding a First Amendment violation based on facts like those in her case.”
The lower court went on to say that the officers did not violate her First Amendment rights despite Sause’s testimony that when she showed them a copy of the Constitution, “One officer laughed and said, ‘That’s just a piece of paper’ and, ‘That doesn’t work here.’ ”
But Sause took the appellate court’s decision to a higher authority, a move that ultimately led to Thursday’s Supreme Court victory.
Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty, which represented Sause in the case, had this to say: “No American citizen should ever be ordered by government officials not to pray in their own home.”
According to Ms. Sause, her prayers worked because she had a divine intervention to fight for her right to pray without fear of harassment.
“I am thankful that God provided me attorneys from First Liberty and Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, who fought this tremendous legal battle on my behalf,” she said.
Meanwhile, it’s come to light that Sause’s legal team was once led by James Ho, a possible pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Before taking the bench as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, then attorney Ho led the legal team that ultimately won Sauce’s fight for religious liberty.
Judge Ho was mentioned by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as a possible pick to replace Kennedy.