SUPREME COURT OPINION ALERT: High Court Rules in Favor of Cake Baker in Same-Sex Wedding Case

Today, the Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop, which involves whether a cake baker can be forced to bake a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding.  (We previewed the case here.)  In a 7-2 decision, in an opinion written by Justice Kennedy, the Court ruled in favor of the cake shop and found that the Colorado… Read More SUPREME COURT OPINION ALERT: High Court Rules in Favor of Cake Baker in Same-Sex Wedding Case

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

Prisons Allowed to Permanently Deny Inmates Visits with Family

In 1998, Clarence Easterling, a Wisconsin man, was put on probation after being convicted of sexually assaulting a minor female.  Then, three years later, his daughter was born shortly before he was sentenced to 25 years for armed robbery.  Easterling has tried both in 2004 and 2013 to get his daughter to visit him, but… Read More Prisons Allowed to Permanently Deny Inmates Visits with Family

Individual TV Producers Allowed to Sue Private Operator of Public Access Channel Over Controversial Video

In New York, cable TV providers must provide their customers at least one public access channel.  A public access channel is one that is “designated for noncommercial use by the public on a first-come, first-served, nondiscriminatory basis.”  In Manhattan, a private non-profit corporation called Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) operates one of Manhattan’s public access channels.… Read More Individual TV Producers Allowed to Sue Private Operator of Public Access Channel Over Controversial Video

Court Upholds Ohio’s “One Subject Only” Law for Voter Ballot Initiatives

Ohio, like most states, allows its state constitution to be amended via a “ballot initiative,” a proposed constitutional amendment that appears on the ballot state-wide and becomes part of the state constitution if it receives a simple majority of votes cast (other states require a supermajority). In 2016, a group of Ohio citizens wanted to… Read More Court Upholds Ohio’s “One Subject Only” Law for Voter Ballot Initiatives

Court Partially Strikes Down Campaign-Finance Laws of Austin, Texas

In the spirit of the 2018 midterms, campaign-finance laws in Austin, Texas were recently challenged by Donald Zimmerman, a former City Council member.  Specifically, he challenged three restrictions of a law enacted via a ballot initiative in 1997.  These three restrictions were (1) a $350 cap on contributions per contributor per election, (2) a prohibition… Read More Court Partially Strikes Down Campaign-Finance Laws of Austin, Texas