The Catholic University of America





Professor Mark Rienzi Reviews His Supreme Court Victories with Students


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The United States Supreme Court issued two decisions in June that were clear victories for Catholic University law school Professor Mark Rienzi, who represented both cases on a pro bono basis over a period of years.
On June 26, Court held 9-0 that a Massachusetts law providing a 35-foot protest-free zone outside abortion clinics in the state is an unconstitutional infringement of free speech. That case, McCullen v. Coakley, was argued by Rienzi before the justices last January.
Days later, on June 30, the Supreme Court held in favor of the right of a family-owned business to exclude on religious grounds certain types of contraceptives from insurance coverage for its employees. The court’s 5-4 vote in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. marked the second victory for Rienzi, who was part of the legal team that filed a brief last fall at the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case. Rienzi’s involvement in it came through the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, where he has served as senior counsel since 2011. 
Rienzi discussed both cases with students at an informal pizza luncheon on Sept. 22, addressing the history and issues presented by each case. He took their questions, and emphasized the amount of preparation required to advocate well in the face of grueling examination by the justices.