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.
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.
It is debatable whether a claim by a public school football coach that he is compelled by religious belief to pray at the 50-yard line following each game is a good vehicle for addressing either free exercise or workplace religious accommodation. However, it does appear that the four justices who signed onto Alito’s response have concerns about the chilling effect of Hardison and Smith on the ability to even raise Title VII religious accommodation and Free Exercise Clause claims. With Patterson v. Walgreen Co., the Supreme Court has the opportunity to revisit religious accommodation claims under Title VII.
On December 17, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the ministerial exception does not bar a teacher in a Catholic school who was fired because she needed time off work for surgery and chemotherapy from pursuing a claim under the Americans with Disability Act.
Setting the Constitutional separation of church and state issue aside, Alabama’s 10 Commandments referendum still creates theological confusion for Christians by promoting the law without the corresponding remedy of grace.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments this week in Gaylor v. Peecher, a case that challenges the constitutionality of tax-exempt housing for clergy. Under 25 U.S.C. § 107(2), a pastor may receive a payment separate from taxable salary to pay for housing-related expenses including rent, mortgages and utility services.
Although his Supreme Court case was bolstered by a cake troll on the right, cake trolls on the left are making life miserable for Colorado baker Jack Phillips.
The Senate has stripped language from a House spending bill that would have stopped the Internal Revenue Service from revoking the tax-exempt status of non-profit organizations that engage in campaigning for political candidates.
Within the next week, it is expected that the President will nominate Kennedy’s replacement. The following is a brief inventory of Justice Kennedy’s positions on some key religion clause issues from his appointment in 1988 until his retirement in 2018.
The Supreme Court rules that the President of the United States has broad discretion to impose travel restrictions, so long as they are related to a plausible governmental interest, and that a showing of Presidential animus toward a religious minority is not relevant to the analysis.