Chief Justice Roberts was on pretty solid ground when he observed, in his opinion for the Court in the recent Trinity Lutheran case, that “[y]oungsters . . . often fall on the playground or tumble from the equipment. And when they do, the gravel can be unforgiving.” And, the foundation is no less firm for the Court’s conclusion that the First Amendment does not permit governments to discriminate against religious believers and organizations when distributing public benefits.
By: Micah J. Schwartzman, Richard C. Schragger, and Nelson Tebbe
How will the Supreme Court decide the question of religious exemptions in Hobby Lobby? We are not in the prediction business, and although we would like to think we have some sense of how the justices reason about these issues, there is no need to guess at the outcomes. We will all know soon enough. But in anticipating the Court’s decision, it is worth noting how fast this litigation has proceeded—from the trial court to the Supreme Court in 15 months—and how rapidly the legal arguments on both sides evolved during that very short time period. Whatever the Court decides, we are fairly confident that it will address issues that were not squarely presented in the lower courts.