News and primers:
A 40-foot cross in a highway median in Bladensburg, Md. is the latest focus in a long-running dispute over religious symbols in public places. Opponents of the cross say it endorses religion; supporters are asking the Supreme Court to adopt a “coercion test.” Read about the Court’s evolution in its view of the First Amendment in the UMass Press book, Religious Liberty in America.
Before identity ideologies dominated the political discussion, there was a national ethos called “civil religion.” Author Bruce T. Murray dedicates a chapter to civil religion in his UMass Press book, Religious Liberty in America.
Justice Neil M. Gorsuch has taken an originalist approach to the constitution and lectures colleagues. Former Justice Antonin Scalia was sometimes originalist and sometimes not, but he often had heated words for his opponents on the Court.
The Supreme Court ruled that Missouri cannot prevent a Lutheran school from participating in a public grant program providing playground material. The ruling is also directed at a pending school voucher case and a textbook case. See SageLaw primers on religious liberty.
Kamala Harris: 1
Bruce Murray: 1
Case reaches a procedural draw.
Researchers at Mercer University evaluated Trump's shortlist judges based on their philosophy and practices that resemble former Justice Antonin Scalia. Check out the most Scalia-like of all of Scalia's words here; and also an analysis of Scalia's judicial philosophy.
Trace the shifting alliances over the years between religious conservatives and their political allies. And see the book, Religious Liberty in America.
California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) has substantially eroded patient-consumer rights and access to the court system, leaving aggrieved people only with the state Medical Board. See this action for mandate against the Medical Board.
The latest terrorist attacks, this time in Brussels, have raised the specter of “the clash of civilizations.” See the articles, “Beyond the Clash of Civilizations” with Adam Seligman; “Inside the mind of terror” with Mark Juergensmeyer; and “Inside the Global Jihad” with Steven Simon.
The latest terrorist attacks in Paris have raised the specter of “the clash of civilizations.” See the Web Sage articles, “Beyond the Clash of Civilizations” with Adam Seligman; “Inside the mind of terror” with Mark Juergensmeyer; and “Inside the Global Jihad” with Steven Simon.
The latest mass shooting, this time at a community college in Oregon, brings the number of mass shootings to 19 since the Supreme Court declared in 2008 that gun ownership is an individual right, protected by the Second Amendment. See the SageLaw analysis of McDonald v. Chicago.
The latest mass shooting, this time at a movie theater in Lafayette, LA, brings the number of mass shootings to 18 since the Supreme Court declared in 2008 that gun ownership is an individual right, protected by the Second Amendment. See the SageLaw analysis of McDonald v. Chicago.
The latest mass shooting, this time fueled by a racist killer in Charleston, S.C., brings the number of mass shootings to 17 since the Supreme Court declared in 2008 that gun ownership is an individual right, protected by the Second Amendment. See the SageLaw analysis of McDonald v. Chicago.
America's “culture wars” have found a strange nexus in the wedding industry, where some small business owners have refused to cater to same-sex weddings. These people are easy to vilify, but more difficult to understand. See the primer on “Understanding People of Faith.”
President Obama has been criticized for refusing to link terrorism with Islam. Prof. Mark Juergensmeyer explains why declaring a war with anything-Islam plays into the hands of extremists and terrorists. See ‘Terror in the mind of God.’
The slaying of 12 people at the offices of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo — which published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad — reveals the clash between extremist Islam and the value of freedom of expression. See discussion on the issue.
Justice Antonin Scalia tells the world who he is, in no uncertain terms. See some choice words from Scalia, culled from the course of his colorful career on the Supreme Court. Also see a hypothetical Scalia opinion on the Hobby Lobby case, as well as a critique and an analysis of Scalia's judicial philosophy.
Justice Antonin Scalia ruled with the Court majority that corporations are “persons” — and thus entitled to a judicial exemption to the Obamacare mandate to provide certain contraceptives. See this imagined opinion by Scalia, as well as a critique and an analysis of Scalia's judicial philosophy.
Justice Scalia is none-too-pleased with the Court's recent decisions that chisel away at the Confrontation Clause, as Scalia has interpreted it during his tenure on the Supreme Court. See more acerbic and caustic comments from the Court's most quotable justice.
“Americans can’t be repressed. We will mock it if it deserves to be mocked.” — Retired Judge Abraham Sofaer, speaking about TSA security foibles following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. See more of Sofaer's comments from the Great Valley Center Conference.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has issued a sweeping indictment of the CIA's interrogation practices in the long “twilight war” on terrorism. “Mistakes” were made, says CIA chief. See SageLaw section on torture.
President Obama's executive action on immigration recalls prior presidential actions on war, torture and faith-based initiatives.The immigration debate also calls into question the meaning of American values, citizenship and identity.
A snake-handling Kentucky pastor died from a rattlesnake bite during a worship service. Kentucky law prohibits snake handling, but followers of the practice believe they must “take up serpents” and follow the Holiness.
See more news on religious free exercise.
New York–based Satanic Temple applied to place a monument to Satan at the capitol building in Oklahoma City after the Oklahoma ACLU sued to have a Ten Commandments statue — erected in 2012 — removed on the grounds that its presence discriminated against other religions. The proposed 7-ft.-tall sculpture would feature Satan depicted in the form of Baphomet, a bearded, goat-headed, winged hominid with horns seated on a throne beneath a pentagram with two smiling children to either side.
Los Angeles County Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Don Knabe called for adding a cross to the image of the San Gabriel Mission on the official county seal. When the mission was added to the seal in 2004 during a redesign, the cross was missing from the structure because it had been removed for earthquake retrofitting. From 1957 to 2004, the county seal featured a tiny gold cross above a rendering of the Hollywood Bowl. When the ACLU threatened to sue, the County Board removed the cross.
A federal judge ruled that the cross atop San Diego's Mt. Soledad violates the separation of church and state and therefore must be taken down. See article on “tearing down the idols”; also see article on Christmas displays by Rabbi Michael Gotlieb.
On the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, little progress has been made on gun control; mass shootings continue; and no “good guys with guns” show up to stop them. See SageLaw section on the Second Amendment.
A federal judge has upheld a ban on nativity scenes in Palisades Park, Santa Monica. While atheist groups celebrate their legal victory, Christian groups have moved the displays to private property. Read more about the “culture wars” in Religious Liberty in America.
A snake-handling Tennessee preacher has been charged with illegally keeping poisonous snakes — which he and his congregation “take up” during worship. Read more about the free exercise of religion in Religious Liberty in America. Also see more news related to free exercise.
On the 12-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Middle East is still unstable, and extremist groups still threaten the region and beyond. Read about religion and terrorism from a historical perspective and “religious tolerance in a time or terror.”
A group of cheer-leaders in Kountze, Texas, are asking the court overturn a prohibition on their display of banners — featuring Bible verses — at football games. The school district banned the displays due to concerns over separation of church and state. School Superintendent Kevin Weldon is under fire for instituting the ban. Charles Haynes of the First Amendment Center comments.