The U.S. Supreme Court announced April 3 that it will postpone oral arguments for the month of April due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The delay means that the high court won’t hold in-person arguments in a pending church-state case, Trump v. Pennsylvania, a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s rules that would allow employers and universities to use their religious beliefs to deny workers and students access to birth-control coverage. (See “Access Denied,” April 2020 Church & State.)

The court normally goes out of session by the end of June. It was unclear whether the court would extend its session into summer or carry the remaining 20 cases over to its next term, which begins in October.

On April 13, the court announced that it will hear oral arguments by telephone in some of the cases, including Trump v. Pennsylvania and two other church-state cases (which are being heard jointly) that deal with the employment rights of teachers in private religious schools. The arguments will take place this month. 

An American Original

Is the separation of church and state in the Constitution?

Absolutely. The separation of church and state is baked into our founding documents and our system of government.

The “wall of separation between church and state” is an American original. It’s an American invention. We should be proud of that fact. And we should fight any disinformation that threatens this ideal.

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