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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.

Awesome Anniversary: Celebrating 65 Years Of The McCollum Ruling

Sixty-five years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down one of its most important church-state decisions.

The 8-1 ruling in McCollum v. Board of Education ended a practice in the Champaign, Ill., public schools of allowing ministers to come onto the campus during the day to offer sectarian instruction.

Measure Of Justice: Remembering The Battle Over Robert Bork

I know it’s not considered polite to speak ill of the dead, but I’m going to bend that rule today to comment on Robert H. Bork, the former federal appeals court judge and failed Supreme Court candidate who died yesterday.

Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC

For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether and to what extent the First Amendment requires a "ministerial exception" to the federal employment-discrimination laws. A teacher at a religious school filed a lawsuit alleging that she was fired after asserting her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Prisoners’ Plea Proscribed: High Court Limits Inmates’ Religious Liberty Lawsuits

The U.S. Supreme Court has let us down again this week.

The justices ruled 6-2 that prisoners cannot seek money damages from the state when their rights are violated under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The federal statute’s purpose, in part, is to protect prisoners’ rights to practice their religion.

‘Faith-Based’ Fracas: Supreme Court Lets Taxpayer Challenge Go Forward In Kentucky

Americans United got some good news yesterday in a “faith-based” funding case that began back in 2000.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Alicia Pedreira and other Kentucky taxpayers against the Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children. Using millions in public funds, the sectarian childcare agency has been indoctrinating children in religious beliefs and discriminating on religious grounds in employment, firing Pedreira for being a lesbian.

Critical Mass: Justices Gather In D.C. For Special Religious Service

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.

First Test: Sotomayor Will Help Decide Fate Of Cross In California Park

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.

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