Supreme Court

Understanding Trinity Lutheran v. Missouri

On June 26, 2017 the Supreme Court decided the important case of Trinity Lutheran v. Missouri, and did so in a fascinating array of opinions that give intriguing hints of how it will decide cases involving religious freedom in the future.

The case is one in a long line in which the Court has struggled to make sense of the First Amendment. The cases form a tangled web that has left many legal observers unable to discern the course the Court intends to chart. It is possible that the majority intends its opinion to make that course significantly clearer with this decision. Lamentably, it failed to achieve its result.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/understanding-trinity-lutheran-v-missouri

Trinity Lutheran and Free Exercise as a Non-Discrimination Norm

By in large, the decision was hailed as a victory for religious liberty by proponents of accomodationist views of the religion clauses, and criticized as a further crumbling of the wall between church and state by those of the separationist school.

Thus, the elephant in the room remains – whether these state law provisions are a legitimate basis for denying religious schools the right to participate in state educational voucher programs.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/10/2/trinity-lutheran-and-free-exercise-as-a-non-discrimination-norm

A Firm Foundation for the Trinity Lutheran Decision

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.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/10/2/a-firm-foundation-for-the-trinity-lutheran-decision

Trump's GOP Takeover a Serious Loss for the Cause of Religious Freedom

By Rachel Lu

The rational case for supporting Donald Trump’s presidential bid mostly comes down to a single argument: the judiciary. Nearly all of the other arguments are some distasteful mixture of hysteria, resentment, and delusion. But Trump has promised to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court. And it’s genuinely possible that he would.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/10/21/trumps-takeover-a-serious-loss-for-the-cause-of-religious-freedom

The Fight for Religious Freedom Begins at Home

By Samuel Rodriguez

Not only has the 2016 presidential election polarized America on almost every major issue, it has also served as a source of hysteria. Each party—and those unaffiliated—views the opposing candidate’s win as disaster. If Hillary wins, it’s the end of American Christianity; if Trump wins, all Muslims will be excommunicated. It is in this moment, then, that I want to invite everyone to pause and just take a deep breath.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/10/19/the-fight-for-religious-freedom-begins-at-home