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free exercise clause

2011-2012 Supreme Court Term (1): Hosannah-Tabor Church and School v. EEOC – The Ministerial Exception to Employment Discrimination Laws

September 7, 2011

This case involves a parochial school teacher who was fired because of a disability.  Her employer claimed that it was exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act because of the "ministerial exception," a judge-created doctrine that exempts religious organizations from the operation of civil rights laws in cases involving "ministerial employees." 

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The Murfeesboro Mosque, Herman Cain, RLUIPA, and the First Amendment

July 16, 2011

The AP reports Herman Cain opposes planned Tennessee mosque.  In remarks to reporters at a campaign stop at Murfeesboro, Tennessee, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain voiced opposition to the construction of a mosque in that city.  This matter brings to mind a number of important aspects of freedom of religion.

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Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (Part 6): Does a Religious Organization Have Greater Constitutional Rights to Discriminate than Other Groups?

January 9, 2010

     In this final installment on this pending case I discuss whether or not a religious organization like CLS has a constitutional right to discriminate that is superior to the rights that other advocacy groups might have.

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Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (Part 5): The Free Exercise Claim

January 8, 2010

     We have seen in the two previous posts that CLS faces an uphill battle against Hastings Law School in its First Amendment claims based on "expressive association" and "equal access to a public forum."  Under existing doctrine, it will be equally difficult for CLS to win with yet another First Amendment claim under the […]

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Storman's, Inc. v. Selecky: The "Plan B" Case

July 13, 2009

     Last week the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court decided Storman's, Inc. v. Selecky, the case challenging a Washington State law requiring pharmacists to dispense "Plan B," is here.  An analysis follows.

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Gay Rights and the Free Exercise Clause: (2) State Action Doctrine

April 4, 2009

     Some religious conservatives contend that the recognition of equal rights for gays and lesbians violates their right to the free exercise of religion.  They claim that because they believe that homosexuality is a sin, that they therefore have the right to enact laws that make it a crime, or at least that they have […]

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Gay Rights and the Free Exercise Clause: (1) General Overview

April 1, 2009

     On Monday the law school hosted a debate between Professor George W. Dent of Case Western Reserve University and me on the question of whether the recognition of gay rights violates the rights of religious conservatives to freedom of religion.  Professor Dent and I intend to submit our remarks to the new online journal […]

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2008-2009 Supreme Court Term: (1) The Ten Commandments vs. the Seven Aphorisms

November 10, 2008

     Like many American towns, Pleasant Grove City, Utah, prominently displays a statue of the Ten Commandments in the town square.  Summum, a Gnostic religion headquartered in Utah, wishes to have a similar monument to the Seven Aphorisms of its own religion displayed there as well.  In the case of Pleasant Grove City v. Summum the Supreme […]

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Does a religious group have the right to qualify for government funding despite discriminatory employment practices?

October 18, 2008

     Religious organizations discriminate on the basis of religion in their employment practices.  Christian churches employ ministers and priests, synagogues retain the services of rabbis, and mosques hire imams to perform religious duties.  In addition, for the most part, each individual sect hires clergy of the same sect to lead religious services – Methodists hire Methodists, Roman Catholics […]

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The Supreme Court at the Tipping Point – Freedom of Religion

August 18, 2008

     The focus of one of the starkest ideological divisions on the Supreme Court and an area of law that may undergo dramatic change as a result of the 2008 presidential election is the interpretation of the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment.

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