SUPREME COURT OPINION ALERT: Court Upholds “Travel Ban 3.0”

Third time’s the charm.  Today, the Supreme Court upheld the third iteration of President Trump’s executive order temporarily restricting people from several majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States—the so-called “travel ban.”  In a 5-4 opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court found that the executive order did not violate the Establishment Clause of… Read More SUPREME COURT OPINION ALERT: Court Upholds “Travel Ban 3.0”

Indiana High School’s Nativity Scene Held Unconstitutional

In Elkhart, Indiana, about half an hour east of South Bend, students at Concord High School have, for almost 50 years, participated in the school’s elaborate Christmas concert called their “Christmas Spectacular.”  The students are a huge part of this production; in addition to showing off dance, choral, and instrumental talents, they also design and… Read More Indiana High School’s Nativity Scene Held Unconstitutional

New York Methodist Hospital Exempt from Employment Laws

This case is the next in a series of cases involving whether religiously affiliated organizations must comply with federal employment-nondiscrimination laws.  By way of background, a 2012 Supreme Court decision declared that the First Amendment prohibits federal employment laws from applying to “ministers.”  The Court wrote: “The Establishment Clause prevents the Government from appointing ministers,… Read More New York Methodist Hospital Exempt from Employment Laws

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