Legal Issues

Legal and Legislative Update

An update on the status of Patterson v. Walgreen, New York expands statute of limitations on child sexual abuses case, ministerial exception in disability claims, and Sabbath accommodation

 
 

Supreme Court to hear challenge to Montana's no-aid-to-religion law

Supreme Court to hear challenge to Montana's no-aid-to-religion law

The United States (U.S.) Supreme Court agreed to hear a case, Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue, concerning a Montana state legislative program that allowed individuals to receive up to a $150.00 tax credit for money that they could donate to one of several K-12 scholarship funds.

 
 

BREAKING: Supreme Court says WWI Cross can stand due to age

By Ben Jacobson (Kranar Drogin) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

There's an old adage that bad facts make bad law, and in this case, given political exigencies, there was little to no chance that the Court would have found that the cross must be removed from public property. While we had previously anticipated that denying the case based on standing would have been the "easy answer," the Court issued a ruling today that addressed the cross on the merits. Now our attention turns to whether there is collateral damage to the substance of the Establishment Clause.

 
 

FFRF decides not to appeal 7th Circuit opinion upholding parsonage allowance

FFRF decides not to appeal 7th Circuit opinion upholding parsonage allowance

The Freedom from Religion Foundation has decided not to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 7th Circuit decision in Gaylor v. Mnuchin  (7th Cir., March 15, 2019) upholding a clergy-specific tax-free housing allowance provision in the IRS code. The secular organization has consistently argued that Internal Revenue Code Sec. 107(2) violates the Establishment Clause. 

 
 

High Court reverses Oregon finding against bakers and sends case back to lower court for further review

High Court reverses Oregon finding against bakers and sends case back to lower court for further review

The Supreme Court appears reluctant to squarely address the balance between the free exercise of religion and anti-discrimination statutes, or to discuss a claim for hybrid-rights combining "rational basis" free exercise rights with "strict scrutiny" free speech rights.

 
 

Supreme Court rules that Title VII EEOC filing requirements are mandatory but not jurisdictional

Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court issued a ruling on June 3, 2019, in a case (Fort Bend County v. Davis)  involving whether a court may hear a discrimination case where the plaintiff fails to raise all charges in an initial EEOC complaint.  The Court found that the Title VII's rules are procedural, not jurisdictional, and as such procedural defenses need to be raised early in a case.

 
 

Supreme Court Requests Solicitor General's Opinion on Sabbath Accommodation Case

Supreme Court Requests Solicitor General's Opinion on Sabbath Accommodation Case

The value of the Patterson case does not merely hinge on its facts, which would likely have to be developed at the trial level, but more importantly, it provides a vehicle for the Circuit courts to obtain needed guidance from the Supreme Court in order to consistently interpret Title VII religious accommodation requirements. 

 
 

Supreme Court: The 8th Amendment's Excessive Fines Clause is incorporated against the states via the 14th Amendment

Supreme Court: The 8th Amendment's Excessive Fines Clause is incorporated against the states via the 14th Amendment

This morning, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that the 14th Amendment applies the "Excessive Fines Clause" of the 8th Amendment to the states.

 
 

Parties objecting to regulatory decision must follow administrative process

Parties objecting to regulatory decision must follow administrative process

This week the Supreme Court denied certiorari in a case where nuns filed their Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) case opposing a pipeline across their property in the wrong venue and ignored the required dispute resolution process.

 
 

High Court decision on Muslim clergy at execution challenges rule of law

High Court decision on Muslim clergy at execution challenges rule of law

In ruling that an unwritten rule, quite possibly manufactured after the execution was already scheduled, should not be subject to a judicial Establishment Clause and potentially Free Exercise Clause analysis, the Court has created a troubling precedent that targets the principle of the rule of law.