President-elect Donald Trump on Friday nominated U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be attorney general. The attorney general serves as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, responsible for upholding our nation’s laws. Many view Sen. Sessions as a troubling choice, including those of us who fight for religious freedom.
People of faith who live in the United States sometimes have to make compromises between their personal beliefs and following the law. As far as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is concerned, there is no obvious way to distinguish when violating one’s faith is acceptable and when it isn’t.
“Sometimes when a religious person…is a member of a society he does have to accept all sorts of things that are terrible to him,” said Kennedy during oral arguments this morning in the consolidated case of Zubik v. Burwell.
Seats inside the U.S. Supreme Court were at a premium today for the oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case.
I was fortunate to get a spot in the press gallery. I was in the back row, and my view was obstructed by two large columns, but I’m not complaining; I would have been willing to hang from the rafters for this historic argument, a marathon session that featured five attorneys and lasted two and a half hours.
Do for-profit corporations exercise religion? What constitutes a religious enterprise? What did Congress intend when it passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993?
These and many other questions were batted about this morning as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the pivotal combined case of Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties vs. Sebelius.
I was fortunate to sit in the press gallery during the argument, and it seemed skepticism abounded on both sides.
The waning days of 2013 were a mixed bag for supporters of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate, as courts took conflicting stances on whether or not religious non-profits must comply with the new requirement, which went into effect yesterday.
Many observers are focused on the fate of secular, for-profit corporations, which claim that the mandate violates their religious liberty rights, a matter the U.S. Supreme Court will decide this year.
The U.S. Supreme Court is back in session today, which means Justice Sonia Sotomayor has taken her seat on the bench for the first time.
Yesterday morning was another first for the junior justice. She attended the Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle as a VIP guest.
Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, the third woman and the first Latina to ever serve as a justice.
It's a historical milestone, and Americans United is looking forward to watching the new justice in action, particularly when it comes to church-state issues.
As we have mentioned before, we know very little about Sotomayor's views on our issues. That will change in upcoming months.
As it turns out, we didn't have to wait too long for a question assessing Judge Sonia Sotomayor's thoughts on religious liberty.
Yesterday afternoon, as the Senate confirmation hearings continued, Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) asked Sotomayor her views on freedom of religion, which he called "one of the basic principles of our Constitution."
As you may have noticed, Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearings continue today.
We've heard a lot of griping about her "wise Latina" remark and her decision in the Ricci case, as well as witnessed outbursts from anti-abortionist protestors.
But to our knowledge, we have yet to hear anyone ask her about her views on church and state issues.
I don't know what kind of Supreme Court justice Sonya Sotomayor will turn out to be.
My hope is that she's much in the vein as the man she will probably replace – David H. Souter.
But although I'm uncertain about Sotomayor's views on separation of church and state, there's one thing I know for sure: She deserves a fair hearing and an opportunity to explain her views and answer questions. And she deserves the right to do this in an atmosphere marked by professionalism and congeniality.