Press Releases

First Liberty Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Review Case of Woman Ordered by Police to Stop Praying in Her Home  

Attorneys say police should have known their actions violated the First Amendment

November 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Friday, attorneys for First Liberty Institute and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court in Sause v. Bauer on behalf of their client, Mary Anne Sause. Read the petition here.

The petition asks the Supreme Court to reverse the appellate court’s ruling in the case. In 2013, police officers entered Sause’s home to investigate an alleged minor noise complaint. After entering, they harassed her and ordered Sause, a devout Catholic, to stop praying in her home. Sause later filed a lawsuit against the police officers, chief of police, and city officials.

In June, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit agreed with a lower court’s decision to dismiss Sause’s case. The majority opinion for the Tenth Circuit panel assumed that a First Amendment violation occurred, but stated that the police officers were shielded from liability based on the legal doctrine of qualified immunity.

“The Tenth Circuit’s opinion assumed the police officers violated Ms. Sause’s constitutional rights when they mocked her, humiliated her, and ordered her to stop praying in her home,” said Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of First Liberty. “Police officers should have known that ordering a woman not to pray in her own home violates the First Amendment.”

“The constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens like Ms. Sause should not be ignored, and she deserves her day in court,” said Stephanie Taub, Counsel for First Liberty. “This case is about protecting the religious liberties of a private citizen in one of the most sacred and protected places in legal doctrine: the home. We are hopeful the Supreme Court will recognize Ms. Sause’s case as one of the utmost importance and grant her petition.”

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About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm and the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

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