Religious Freedom

  • April 15, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    Cameron Miculka and Francel Blas report for USA Today that the Guam Attorney General is directing the public health department to begin to issue same-sex marriage licenses immediately. 

    In Salon, Jason Williamson takes a look at how the police commonly and unfairly detain African Americans for trespassing. 

    An appeals court has affirmed a dismissal of U.S. Senator Ron Johnson's lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, reports Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    Steven Mazie writes in The Economist's Democracy in America blog considers the challengers' arguments in the same-sex marriage cases set to appear before the Supreme Court.

    David A. Strauss, member of the ACS Board of Directors, considers in The Washington Post what the fight for "religious freedom" means for the broader fight for equality in the United States.  

    At Hamilton and Griffin on Rights, Leslie Griffin considers how the real problem is "the efforts of religious corproations, organizations and individuals to block progress on LGBT and women's equality."

    Lawrence Norden and Daniel I. Weiner consider at the blog for the Brennan Center for Justice the best way to turn the tide of dark money. 

  • April 7, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    At Share America, Geoffrey Stone takes a look at the history of civil liberties during wartime.

    Dahlia Lithwick of Slate explains how arguments against same-sex marriage are impossible to reconcile with arguments in support of religious freedom acts.

    At The New Republic, Sam Eifling discusses the unusual circumstances that prompted Wal-Mart to oppose Arkansas’s proposed attack on gay rights.

    In The New York Times, Mitch Smith writes that the Wisconsin Supreme Court election has raised concerns about partisanship in the judicial branch.

    William Greider considers at The Nation how the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby has provided inspiration for countless new conservative campaigns.

    Coral Davenport reports for The New York Times on how Laurence Tribe has become an outspoken – and unlikely – opponent of President Obama’s ambitious new plans to fight global warming.

  • October 3, 2014
    Guest Post

    by Rob Boston, the Director of Communications at Americans United for Separation of Church and State

    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia captured headlines recently by declaring that nothing in the Constitution prevents the government from favoring religion over non-religion.

    “I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion,” Scalia told a crowd at Colorado Christian University Oct. 1.

    “We do Him [God] honor in our Pledge of Allegiance, in all our public ceremonies,” he added. “There’s nothing wrong with that. It is in the best of American traditions, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I think we have to fight that tendency of the secularists to impose it on all of us through the Constitution.”

    It’s not the first time Scalia has made such comments. In 2009, he told an Orthodox Jewish newspaper published in Brooklyn, “It has not been our American constitutional tradition, nor our social or legal tradition, to exclude religion from the public sphere. Whatever the Establishment Clause means, it certainly does not mean that government cannot accommodate religion, and indeed favor religion. My court has a series of opinions that say that the Constitution requires neutrality on the part of the government, not just between denominations, not just between Protestants, Jews and Catholics, but neutrality between religion and non-religion. I do not believe that. That is not the American tradition.”

    The “American tradition” that Scalia refers to doesn’t have much of a history. “Under God” was slipped into the Pledge in 1954 as a slap at godless Communism. “In God We Trust” wasn’t codified for use on paper money until 1956 – again, it was a Cold War-era slam at the Soviets. (The use of the phrase on coins is older. It was a desperate ploy by the North to curry favor with the deity during the early months of the Civil War.)

  • October 3, 2014

    by Caroline Cox

    Lyle Denniston looks at what is next for same-sex marriage in the Supreme Court at SCOTUSblog.

     A ruling from the U.S. Court for the Fifth Circuit closed all but eight Texas abortion clinics, reports Sarah Kliff of Vox.

    In Alliance for Justice’s blog, Meghan Jones and Christopher Brook discuss State v. Heien and why law enforcement ignorance of the law is not an excuse for Fourth Amendment violations.

    Eliot Hannon reports in Slate on the religious discrimination case against Abercrombie & Fitch that the Supreme Court will hear this term.

    Daniel Gutiérrez discusses in Jacobin the how migrant workers bear the brunt of capitalism’s challenges to labor. 

  • November 26, 2012

    by Amanda Simon

    The Supreme Court today revived challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate and contraceptive coverage provision. The challenge, brought by Liberty University, has now been given new life. With its 5-4 ruling in June, the Court held that the ACA and its coverage provisions were constitutional. Now, the future of the mandate is a bit hazier.

    Though the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case, Liberty University v. Geithner, in September, the Supreme Court today ordered the appeals court to rehear the challenge, opening the door to what could be a significant legal battle. Liberty University, a Christian college founded by the controversial TV preacher Jerry Falwell, brought the suit saying the ACA violated its First Amendment rights as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by requiring the school to provide insurance that could be used for abortions.

    The Fourth Circuit based its dismissal of the university’s case on standing, saying it could not challenge a tax that had yet to be implemented. However, in its ruling on the ACA, Talking Points Memo reports, “the Supreme Court dismissed the standing argument, implicitly conceding that taxpayers may challenge the ACA’s mandates, even ones that have yet to take effect — providing Liberty an opening to move forward with its case.”