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Justice For All: The Supreme Court And The Role Of The Justices’ Religious Beliefs

Today’s Washington Post has an interesting story about how the personal religious beliefs of members of the Supreme Court might affect their decisions.

The question is especially relevant now with the high court poised to hear oral arguments tomorrow in a pair of cases that could have far-reaching consequences for what religious freedom means. Read more

High Noon At The High Court: Justices Hear Arguments In Town Of Greece v. Galloway Case

I spent a frantic morning at the U.S. Supreme Court, where Americans United’s challenge to government-sponsored sectarian prayer, Town of Greece v. Galloway, was argued.

I wasn’t inside the court for the argument, but AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn, Legal Director Ayesha N. Khan and several other AU staff members were. They reported a spirited session, with both sides being peppered with questions from the justices. Read more

Mad Over Marriage: Religious Right Responds To Today’s Supreme Court Rulings

You could say that the American Family Association (AFA) isn’t pleased about today’s Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), meaning that same-sex couples who are lawfully wed in states with marriage equality will have access to a range of federal benefits. This is a pretty big deal. Read more

Fifty Years Of Freedom: Celebrating The Supreme Court’s Decision Against Coercive Religion In Public Schools

Fifty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme handed down one of its most important church-state rulings. In School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, the high court ruled 8-1 that state-mandated programs of Bible reading and prayer in public schools are unconstitutional.

Five decades later, the ruling in Schempp (and its companion case, Murray v. Curlett) remains widely misunderstood. Part of this is due to a deliberate campaign of misinformation by Religious Right groups, which have distorted the scope of the decision. Read more

Church, State And Marriage Equality

 

After voters in Washington state approved marriage equality in November, Lar­ry Duncan and Randell Shepherd of North Bend were among the first batch of couples to apply for a license.

A photo of the two bearded and burly men wearing plaid flannel shirts and camouflage baseball caps as they applied for a wedding license went viral on the internet. The image was both ordinary and extraordinary, and people were charmed that the stereotypical portrait of married couples in America had been expanded to include couples like Duncan and Shepherd. Read more

High Noon At The High Court: Supreme Court Takes Up Marriage Equality

I was fortunate enough to snag a seat in the press gallery for the oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court this morning in the Proposition 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Prop. 8 was narrowly approved by California voters in 2008. It added a ban on same-sex marriage to the state constitution. Opponents are challenging it in court, asserting that it violates the rights of gays and lesbians who wish to marry. Read more

Supreme Court Made The Right Call In Refusing California Cross Case, Says Americans United

Church-State Watchdog Group Says Mt. Soledad Cross Does Not Memorialize All War Dead

The U.S. Supreme Court today announced that it will not hear a long-running controversy over a 43-foot-tall cross displayed on government-owned property in San Diego.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State welcomed the court’s refusal of the case. The Christian cross, Americans United says, is not an appropriate symbol to memorialize deceased veterans of many different faith perspectives. Read more

Of Courthouses And Creches: The Crucial Difference Between Public And Private Religious Symbols

One of the Religious Right’s favorite tricks is to do something that pretty much everyone agrees is legal, and then thumb their noses at groups like Americans United when nobody gets in trouble for doing it. Read more

Courtroom Drama: Supreme Court Debates Limits Of The ‘Ministerial Exception’

The first Monday in October was just two days ago, and if you’re a law junkie, you know what that means: The U.S. Supreme Court is back in session.

This morning, the high court heard oral arguments in the only church-state case on its docket so far. The case, Hosanna Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC, deals with some fairly complex issues but is definitely worth keeping an eye on. Read more

Impaired Judgment: Justice Scalia Just Doesn’t Know When To Stop Talking

It didn’t get much attention, but Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave an interesting address recently at a Catholic university in Pittsburgh.

Scalia spoke at an event marking the 100th anniversary of Duquesne University Law School. It was the usual lament from the ultra-conservative justice: American society is going hell because not enough people agree with Scalia. Read more

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