Catholic CEO asks Supreme Court to Protect Family’s Religious Freedom


GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Today John Kennedy, CEO of Autocam, an international company with 700 employees based in the United States, filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States asking them to review the Sixth Circuit decision which held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not protect their efforts to conduct business according to their faith. The petition is linked here.

“The HHS Mandate is forcing me and my family to choose between practicing our religion, losing our family business, or stripping our employees of benefits they need,” said Kennedy. “The Sixth Circuit said our faith has nothing to do with running the business.  But our faith is why we work very hard to treat our employees well.  I cannot understand why the Sixth Circuit refused to protect our efforts to live our faith when running our business.”

The Kennedy family owns and controls Autocam and they adhere to the teachings of the Catholic faith when operating their business.   By virtue of the Catholic teaching about the dignity of workers, they provide generous wages and an award winning benefits plan.  But they do not cover abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraceptive drugs or devices because doing so would violate their religious beliefs.  The HHS Mandate forces the Kennedys to provide access to those drugs, devices, and procedures or pay $19,000,000 in fines.  They can avoid the mandate and fines by stripping their employees of coverage but think that would be wrong.

The Kennedys filed suit under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits the federal government from imposing a substantial burden on their exercise of religion.  The Sixth Circuit said the act did not apply because they were conducting business for profit.

“The bottom line of the Sixth Circuit’s opinion is that religious liberty means nothing more than a right to pray within the four walls of a church.  The idea seems to be that religious believers should check their faith at the door on their way out of church.  That is a truly hollow view of religious liberty that is at odds with the finest traditions of our nation.” said Patrick T. Gillen, lead counsel on the lawsuit.

The Kennedy family is represented by the Legal Defense Fund and the Thomas More Society, Chicago, IL.

To view the petition, please go here:

To speak with John Kennedy or counsel, please contact Kristina Hernandez at 703-373-0632 or

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author is a lay-led movement of committed Catholics who are passionate about living out the truths proclaimed by Christ and His Church in the modern world. We are joined in this mission by many individuals of other faith traditions (and no faith tradition) because the common good we seek is universal to all men and women of goodwill. As patriotic Americans, we believe that life, faith, and freedom are precious rights, and that the family is the foundational unit of society.

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