Subscribe to RSS - Amicus

Sevcik v. Sandoval / Jackson v. Abercrombie

In 1998, Hawaii amended its state constitution to allow the state legislature to ban same-sex marriage. Four years later, Nevada adopted a similar constitutional amendment, forbidding any government official in the state from recognizing same-sex marriage. Both amendments were challenged under the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause by same-sex couples, in lawsuits filed in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The trial court in each case rejected the challenge, and the couples appealed. Their cases were consolidated before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Read more

Kitchen v. Herbert

In 2004, the state of Utah passed legislation and adopted a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The ballot materials for the latter included expressions of religious opposition to homosexuality, including references to “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” In 2013, same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging the marriage ban. The couples argued that the marriage ban unconstitutionally infringes their fundamental right to marriage and their right to equal protection under the law. The trial court ruled in favor of the couples and invalidated the marriage ban; the state appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Read more

Hickenlooper v. Freedom From Religion Foundation

In 1952 Congress established a National Day of Prayer, later designated as the first Thursday in March. The National Day of Prayer Task Force, a nonprofit organization with the goal of “mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership,” has made annual requests to state governments to issue official state prayer proclamations in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Holt v. Hobbs

Gregory Holt goes by the name Abdul Maalik Muhammed and identifies as a devout Salafist Muslim. The prison where Holt is incarcerated bans all facial hair for inmates, ostensibly for security purposes. But prisoners suffering from skin conditions are given an exception and allowed to grow quarter-inch beards, and both the federal government and most other states allow inmates to wear beards for religious reasons. Holt’s request for an accommodation to grow a half-inch beard, in accordance with his faith, was denied by correctional officials. Read more

King v. Christie

In 2013, New Jersey passed a law prohibiting licensed medical professionals from subjecting minors to “sexual orientation change efforts”—purportedly therapeutic efforts to change a patient's sexual orientation. The practice has been roundly condemned by medical and mental health professionals, with organizations like the American Psychological Association warning that the practice may produce serious health risks.

Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell

As part of the Affordable Care Act's implementing regulations, group health plans are required to include coverage for various forms of preventative care, including all FDA-approved methods of contraception. Various secular, for-profit businesses with religious owners have filed lawsuits asserting that they cannot include contraception coverage in employee health plans without violating, among other things, their free exercise rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Read more

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

As part of the Affordable Care Act's implementing regulations, group health plans are required to include coverage for various forms of preventative care, including all FDA-approved methods of contraception. Various secular, for-profit businesses with religious owners have filed lawsuits asserting that they cannot include contraception coverage in employee health plans without violating, among other things, their free exercise rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  Read more

Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York

The New York City Board of Education generally allows private groups, including religious groups, to use school buildings when school is not in session. To ensure that the government does not impermissibly endorse or promote religion, however, the Board prohibits the use of public-school buildings for religious worship services. Despite this policy, the congregation of the Bronx Household of Faith had held Sunday worship services, rent free, in a New York City public middle school as a result of litigation dating back to 2001.
 
In June 2011, the U.S.

A.M. ex rel. McKay v. Taconic Hills Central School District

A middle-school student in the Taconic Hills Central School District in New York was invited to deliver a speech at the school's graduation ceremony. After she submitted a draft of her speech to school administrators for their approval, the school notified her that she was not permitted to conclude the speech with a religious message. Read more

Sherman v. Illinois

A group called Friends of the Cross received $20,000 from the Illinois legislature to refurbish Bald Knob Cross, which the group claims is the largest cross in the western hemisphere. The earmark was awarded by a state senator out of what is essentially a legislative slush fund, and the earmark required the executive branch to provide the taxpayer funds. Read more

Pages