Mullin v. Sussex County

For years, the Sussex County Council opened its public meetings with a Council member reciting the Lord's Prayer. Americans United wrote to the County Council in June 2008, and again in April 2009, asking the Council to stop opening its meetings with the Lord's Prayer because the Constitution prohibits legislative prayers used to advance one religion. The County did not respond to either letter. Read more

Galloway v. Town of Greece

For years, the Greece Town Board has invited clergy to open the Board’s monthly meetings with a prayer. Over the past decade, all but two of the guest chaplains have been Christian, and the vast majority of prayers have been explicitly Christian. Guest chaplains often ask citizens to join in the prayers, and citizens face considerable pressure to participate. In February 2008, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of two local citizens, alleging that the Town’s practices violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Read more

Does v. School District of Elmbrook

For nearly a decade, the Elmbrook School District near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, held its high-school graduation ceremonies in the sanctuary of an evangelical Christian church. A cross towered over the dais -- upon which graduation speakers addressed the audience and graduating seniors received their diplomas. Read more

Does v. Enfield Public Schools

Starting in 2007, the Enfield Public Schools (located just north of Hartford, Connecticut) began holding the Schools’ two high-school graduations in the sanctuary of a Christian church, the First Cathedral. An enormous white cross sits atop the Cathedral’s roof, dominating the skyline as one approaches. To enter the building for graduations, students and their guests pass under another large cross in the Cathedral’s facade. Read more

LaRue v. Colorado Board of Education

The Douglas County Board of Education has created a “Pilot Choice Scholarship Plan,” through which the Douglas County School District has authorized 500 students to use state, per-pupil educational funds that are earmarked for the public school system as vouchers to attend private schools. Most of the participating “Private School Partners” are religious, and these participating schools may discriminate on the basis of religion in both hiring and admissions. Read more

Shapiro v. Browning

The Florida Constitution prohibits the state from using taxpayer money to fund religious organizations or programs. During its 2011 session, the Florida legislature proposed an amendment to the Florida Constitution that not only would repeal this strict prohibition on public funding of religious institutions, but would also forbid Florida government bodies from denying public funding to religious institutions unless the U.S. Constitution prohibited the funding. The proposed amendment will become law if it is approved by Florida voters in the November 2012 general election.  Read more

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. Read more

ACLU of Florida, Inc. v. Dixie County, Florida

Late in 2006, the Dixie County Commission allowed a local resident to install a five-foot, six-ton granite Ten Commandments monument on the steps of the county courthouse. The monument -- which has the phrase “LOVE GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS” chiseled into its base -- is the only object on the courthouse steps and is visible from the street. Read more

Barnes-Wallace v. City of San Diego and Boy Scouts of America

The City of San Diego leases large parcels of prime parkland to the Boy Scouts of America at nominal rates. The Boy Scouts discriminate in membership and employment against atheists and agnostics by requiring scouts and leaders to profess a belief in God. A federal trial court held that the leases were unconstitutional because the Boy Scouts are a religious organization and San Diego’s leasing process was not neutral. The Boy Scouts appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Read more

Pelphrey v. Cobb County

Challenge to practice by two Georgia county commissions of opening meetings with sectarian prayer.

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