This teleforum reviews the November 4 oral argument in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In March 2018, Philadelphia’s Department of Health and Human Services stopped placing foster children with families certified and supported by Catholic Social Services because the agency, as an arm of the Catholic Church, has a sincere religious objection to endorsing same-sex or unmarried heterosexual relationships. Three foster families supported by Catholic Social Services sued, seeking to continue partnering with their chosen agency and challenging the city’s decision on religious free exercise and free speech grounds.

The issues before the Supreme Court involve the appropriate standard for a free-exercise claim, reconsideration of the Court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith, and the grounds on which a government can condition foster-care participation.

Mark Rienzi, president of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, joins us to discuss oral arguments. Becket is representing plaintiffs in this case.

— Mark L. Rienzi, President, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law

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