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Military Court to Hear Historic Religious Freedom Case

Highest military court in America to decide if religious freedom law applies to service members

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April 25, 2016

On Wednesday, April 27, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) will hear the case of Monifa Sterling, a Marine court-martialed for refusing to take down a Bible verse she had posted in her workplace. The CAAF, which is the highest military court in America, will consider whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) applies to members of the military. The outcome of this case will set a historic precedent determining whether our service members’ constitutional right to practice their faith will be protected as they serve in the military. Paul Clement, a former solicitor general of the United States who has argued more than 75 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, will argue the case on behalf of Sterling.

WHAT: Oral arguments in United States v. Sterling

WHO: Mike Berry, Director of Military Affairs for First Liberty Institute, and Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of First Liberty Institute, will be available for comment immediately following oral arguments. (On-site contact: Kassie Dulin, Communications Director for First Liberty Institute. Cell: 214-542-4334.)

WHEN: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 9:30 am ET

WHERE: United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, 450 E St NW, Washington, DC 20442

Quote from Mike Berry, Director of Military Affairs for First Liberty

“This is a historic moment for military religious freedom. For the first time, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces is faced with the question of whether service members are protected by the nation’s most prominent religious freedom law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This case will determine whether our service members’ constitutional right to practice their faith will be protected by the law as they serve in the Armed Forces.”

Background: SterlingFacts.com. Many national leaders filed briefs in support of LCPl Sterling, including 9 retired military generals, 43 Members of Congress, The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, and a diverse coalition of religious leaders, including imams, Sihks, Catholics, Mormons, and Baptists.

Artwork: A sketch artist will capture the scene at the court. Her final artwork will be available to members of the media following the arguments.

About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Kassie Dulin, Director of Legal Communications for First Liberty Institute. Email: kdulin@firstliberty.org, Direct: 972-941-9575, Cell: 214-542-4334.

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