CA Counseling Case Will Return to Lower Court

May 20, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Liberty Counsel will refile Pickup v. Newsom in a California district court and work this case back up to the U.S. Supreme Court. This case is regarding a ban which prohibits licensed counselors from providing talk therapy to minors seeking to reduce or eliminate their unwanted same-sex attraction, behaviors, or identity.

Last year in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, the Supreme Court gutted the Pickup v. Newsom (then Pickup v. Brown) case and a similar case from the Third Circuit, King v. Christie. As Liberty Counsel argued to the Court of Appeals, the High Court ruled that it had never created a “professional speech” category. With the Supreme Court's rejection of King and Pickup, the therapy bans in California, New Jersey, and other jurisdictions are subject to constitutional challenge. 

Liberty Counsel asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to recall its mandate and reconsider its ruling in light of NIFLA. The court denied the request. Liberty Counsel then filed a petition to the Supreme Court asking the Court to direct the Court of Appeals to recall its mandate and reconsider the ruling. Rarely in the history of the Supreme Court has it ordered a lower court to reconsider a past ruling in light of a subsequent Supreme Court opinion. Before refiling the case in the lower court in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in NFLA, Liberty Counsel wanted to exhaust this option. The Supreme Court has made clear that a decision to not review a case is not a decision on the merits of the case.

“The fundamental rights of counselors and clients to exercise their right to speak in private counseling sessions must be protected,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The law is a gross intrusion into the fundamental rights of counselors and clients. All people should have access to the counselor of their choice. No government has the authority to prohibit a form of counseling simply because it does not like the religious or moral beliefs of a particular counselor or client.” said Staver.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. Liberty Counsel provides broadcast quality TV interviews via Hi-Def Skype and LTN at no cost.