US justices sympathise with church in key religious rights case

  • US justices sympathise with church in key religious rights case

US justices sympathise with church in key religious rights case

If that is so, the Constitution's Article III says that the court can not decide it. Article III, though, was little more than a footnote in the argument in the case of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer. During Wednesday's argument, few justices seemed concerned the case could now be moot.

Aside from the religious liberty element, the case is being watched for the implications of how the Supreme Court will rule with Gorsuch on the bench.

"This court said in no uncertain terms that what the (Constitution's) framers didn't want was tax money being imposed for building or maintaining churches or church property", Ginsburg said.

"We have hundreds of outstanding religious organizations all over the state of Missouri who are doing great work on behalf of kids and families every single day", Greitens said in a statement. Cortman emphatically said no, highlighting the anti-Catholic bigotry that animated the passage of many of these laws.

"Missouri's express discrimination against religion should be declared unconstitutional", the brief said.

The case has been long anticipated as a showdown before the Supreme Court over the issue of religious freedom.

This is not a case about the too-often erroneous interpretation that the First Amendment's establishment clause trumps its free exercise clause-that government must always err on the side of treating religious groups like asbestos in the ceiling tiles of society.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Scottsdale, Ariz. -based group that is representing Trinity Lutheran, said in its letter to the court that "the governor's policy change comes late in the day, on the eve of oral argument, thus casting doubt on its permanence".

On the eve of the Supreme Court hearing, oral arguments on both sides have responded to the Court's request, saying the case must still be resolved permanently.

The legal nonprofit contends in the case that based upon the First Amendment the government can not exclude religious organizations from government programs that provide purely non-religious benefits. She mentioned that Blaine Amendments-which she called an "admirable tradition" in our nation-prohibit public funds from going to churches. Its grant ranked fourth out of 44 applicants. The church runs a preschool and daycare center. It was a manufactured controversy, cooked up by conservative interest groups that are hoping to chip away at constitutional provisions in 39 states restricting taxpayer money from going to churches.

Legendary journalist Lyle Denniston is Constitution Daily's Supreme Court correspondent. The Missouri Constitution states, "no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly in, in aide of church".

Missouri's new governor, Eric Greitens, threw a wrinkle into the case April 13 when he instructed the Department of Natural Resources, which manages the tire grant program, to make religious organizations eligible to receive grants.

In 2012 the church applied for a grant from the state to essentially rubberize the playground surface, using old and discarded tires.

The Trinity case also is getting widespread attention as one of the first major arguments before a court that had been missing a justice for 14 months.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor brought up the Court's recognition of space between the Establishment and the Free Exercise Clauses that allows states some "play in the joints". In 2015, the top court in Colorado found that a voucher program started by Douglas County violated a constitutional provision mandated by the state.

The ACLJ's Walter Weber, introduced as a former staff attorney at the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, talked about the applicability of the Locke v. Davey case, in which a 7-2 Supreme Court ruling upheld Washington State's policy to deny the use of a state-funded scholarship for people studying for the ministry.

"In essence, the church is arguing that states can't specifically exempt religious organizations from grant programs that it chooses to provide", said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law. I am sure that the DNR would have come to the same conclusion if the application came from a Muslim or Jewish preschool that includes the teaching of religious principles as part of the curriculum.

Missouri and the church both urged the justices to decide the case anyway because of the important issues at play and because the governor's action was not irreversible.