It’s January, which means state houses across the country are beginning to bustle. Legislators are coming back to the capitals to begin their sessions and governors are preparing their next moves. Georgia, Kentucky, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia are among the states that have already convened and in the next few weeks, dozens more join them.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-Ala.) two-day confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to be U.S. attorney general concluded today, but Sessions has already cemented our concerns about his lack of respect for religious freedom.
The Senate confirmation hearing of education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos has been postponed until Jan. 17. This is for the best. DeVos is a controversial appointee who hasn’t even completed her ethics review, and there’s no need to fast-track her nomination.
A day after Donald Trump is inaugurated president of the United States, at least 100,000 people are expected to rally together to remind his administration to respect the rights of women and other communities that felt threatened by hateful rhetoric during the past election cycle.
In 2007, Americans United argued in federal court that a public school district in New Jersey acted correctly when it ordered a football coach to stop praying with players and other students.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the school district’s favor against the coach, Marcus Borden of East Brunswick High School, in 2008 and confirmed that his actions were unconstitutional because they violated the First Amendment.
It’s a new year and a new Congress, but a familiar piece of legislation already has darkened the door of the U.S. Capitol.
U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.) wasted no time in resuming his efforts to roll back the prohibition on nonprofits endorsing or opposing political candidates. On Tuesday – the first day the 115th Congress was in session – Jones introduced H.R. 172 to “restore the Free Speech and First Amendment rights of churches and exempt organizations by repealing the 1954 Johnson Amendment.”
Next week, Congress starts hearings on President-elect Donald Trump’s troubling cabinet nominees. First up, the Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on Trump’s pick for Attorney General, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). But if the committee keeps to that schedule, it will have to consider a woefully incomplete record on Sessions.
One can say many things about Beowulf, the Old English epic poem that dates between the 8th and 11th centuries: Its authorship is unknown, it’s an important part of the Western canon and it’s the bane of many a college freshman.
Yesterday, Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, telling the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a public school in Bremerton, Wash., had both the right and the obligation to take action when one of its coaches was discovered leading students in prayer.
The 115th Congress convenes today with the swearing in of both new and returning members. The Democrats picked up a few seats in both the House and Senate, but the Republicans will maintain their majorities in both chambers.
Come Jan. 20, the Republicans will also have control of the White House. Congressional leaders, however, aren’t waiting for Inauguration Day to start pushing through the agenda of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Congress is going to move full speed ahead starting on day one. And Americans United will push back.