First Amendment No Obstacle to Federal Uranium-Mining Ban in Arizona

In 2012, the Interior Department imposed a 20-year ban on new uranium mining on over a million acres of federal land in Arizona near the Grand Canyon.  One of the reasons for the ban was concern over groundwater contamination.  But another reason cited was to preserve “cultural and tribal resources” on the land because the… Read More First Amendment No Obstacle to Federal Uranium-Mining Ban in Arizona

Okay for Church Retirement Plans to Be Exempt from Federal Regulatory Law

Like other religiously affiliated non-profits, Catholic Health Initiatives (a Colorado-based health care provider) offers its employees a retirement plan which is exempt from the requirements of the federal law known as ERISA (which stands for Early Retirement Income Security Act). ERISA sets minimum standards for private-sector pension plans and information for plans’ beneficiaries.  Janeen Medina,… Read More Okay for Church Retirement Plans to Be Exempt from Federal Regulatory Law

40-Foot Cross on Public Property in Maryland Violates First Amendment

Shortly after World War I, private organizations in Prince George’s County, Maryland began building a large cross affixed with plaques and inscriptions to commemorate veterans of that county who died in the war.  The cross, which stands four stories tall, was located in the median of a highway intersection.  In 1961, citing the fact that… Read More 40-Foot Cross on Public Property in Maryland Violates First Amendment

Michigan Anti-Vaxxer Told that Her Catholic Faith Does Not Oppose Vaccination

Much has been written about parents that refuse to vaccinate their children.  But as far as we know, this is the first time that the First Amendment has come up. Michigan requires that children be vaccinated.  But like almost every other state, Michigan provides waivers from the vaccination requirement if parents have religious objections.  A… Read More Michigan Anti-Vaxxer Told that Her Catholic Faith Does Not Oppose Vaccination

Federal Tax Exemption for Ministers Held Unconstitutional

Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker serve as co-presidents of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a non-profit organization seeking to protect separation of church and state.  As part of their role, they receive a housing allowance from the Foundation. In 2015, the two filed amended tax returns for 2012 and 2013, seeking a partial tax… Read More Federal Tax Exemption for Ministers Held Unconstitutional

Sixth Circuit Upholds Prayer to Open County Board Meetings

This is yet another legislative-prayer case: analyzing whether it is a violation of the separation of church and state (the Establishment Clause) to begin a public meeting with prayer. Jackson County, Michigan–just west of Ann Arbor in southeast Michigan–opens its monthly meetings of its nine-member Board of Commissioners with prayer. The prayers are Commissioner-led and… Read More Sixth Circuit Upholds Prayer to Open County Board Meetings