U.S. justices lean towards church in key religious rights case

Now the more conservative court is being urged to rule that excluding church schools from state funding programs that are open to others violates the 1st Amendment's guarantee of the "free exercise" of religion and denies them the equal protection of the laws.

The court will hear Trinity Lutheran's challenge as the second case on its Wednesday docket.

What was unclear from the argument was whether the justices would rule broadly in favor of church schools, or focus narrowly on the playground because it had nothing to do with worshipping or teaching religion.

Three-quarters of the US states have provisions similar to Missouri's barring funding for religious entities. The church sued and lost in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then appealed to the nation's highest court.

Missouri's constitution bars "any church, sect or denomination of religion" from receiving state money, language that goes further than the Constitution's First Amendment separation of church and state requirement. The Court agreed to hear Trinity's appeal well over a year ago, shortly before Justice Scalia passed away.

Last week Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens announced he was reversing the DNR's policy and allowing religious organizations to apply and be eligible for grant funds. The state, however, denied the application despite having a program that provides funding for this objective. And I just wanted to ask you about some Federal laws that are highlighted in the amicus brief filed by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and get your reaction whether a program like that would be permissible under the Missouri constitution.

That raised a question for the Court about whether the case was still active- and today's hearing is likely to begin with that issue.

The battle between church and state is moving from the playground to the Supreme Court.

What does this have to do with Colorado?

Layton suggested one difference is that the playground program involves a direct payment to the church.

A decision in the case is expected by late June.

Former Missouri Supreme Court Justice Mike Wolff believes it does.

Facebook video murder suspect kills himself in Pennsylvania
Stephens' became known as the " Facebook Live Killer" after Cleveland Police said the murder had been recorded on Facebook Live. A patrol trooper was not able to stop in time and slid into Stephens' vehicle.

Allen stops 51 as Blues take Game 1 in overtime
In Game 2, Minnesota really has nothing to change in their game plan, other than hope Allen makes mistakes in net for the Blues. Blues coach Mike Yeo argued the Wild's shot attempts "will be inflated every game", reports Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press .

'Egg-citing' hunt held in Frankfort Square
A group of about 1,000 people comprised of parents and their children came out Saturday for Lehi city's annual Easter Egg Hunt . You can consider it the grand prize for the day, with whoever finding it getting a special gift or even some cash.

NY has, over the decades, chipped away at its Blaine Amendment; a 1967 ruling by the state's highest court rightly upheld a program requiring school boards to loan textbooks to all students, public, private and religious - because the program was "meant to bestow a public benefit upon all school children, regardless of their school affiliations".

Instead, an intense hour of oral arguments focused on the merits.

"How can the church be disentitled to qualify for a statewide program exclusively because it's a religious institution?" asked Justice Elena Kagan.

Besides the Trinity case at hand, the Supreme Court in coming days could accept two other religious liberty disputes for future review: Whether a Colorado baker and a Washington state florist can be compelled to do business with same-sex couples, which they say would violate their "sincerely held" religious beliefs.

Thirty-nine states have constitutional provisions limiting state aid to religious groups, Sotomayor noted. Trinity claims there is no such compelling state interest, because (the church argues) the grant would be permissible under the federal Establishment Clause. "Nearly 40 state constitutions have similar constitutional provisions that opponents of school choice have tried to invoke in the past to halt school choice programs in their tracks", he said.

Layton said, "Wherever the line is, writing a check that says "payable to Trinity Lutheran Church" ought to be on the other [unconstitutional] side of it".

Missouri is among roughly three dozen states with constitutions that explicitly prohibit using public money to aid a religious institution, an even higher wall separating government and religion than the U.S. Constitution erects.

The Supreme Court doesn't always see eye to eye when messy issues of church and state collide.

She later asked why the case is not already moot.

This dichotomy bothered Gorsuch, who asked, "How is it that discrimination on the basis of religious exercise is better in selective government programs than general programs?"

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was perhaps the sharpest in her questioning of David Cortman, the attorney representing the church, arguing that Trinity Lutheran seems "to be confusing money with religious practice".

A victory at the Supreme Court for Trinity Lutheran could help religious organizations nationwide win public dollars for certain purposes, such as health and safety.


Popular
  • PlayStation 4 consoles may attract roaches, repairmen say

    PlayStation 4 consoles may attract roaches, repairmen say

    Most consoles lie horizontally in dark or enclosed areas, like media centres, so they're pretty welcoming to the little critters. Then, they will take the console apart, sterilize it with an ultrasonic cleaner , and put it back together.

    "DAMN" Fire Twitter Reacts To Kendrick Lamar New Album

    Can he go for the three-peat? James asked him to release a new album, and about a week later, Kendrick did exactly that. There are also credits for The Alchemist, 9th Wonder, and BADBADNOTGOOD, among others.

    United States prepared to 'do more' in Syria, says Nikki Haley

    McMaster pointed to dual USA goals of defeating the Islamic State group and removing Assad. In his first televised interview, H.R.
  • Iceberg tourists flock to Newfoundland town known as

    Iceberg tourists flock to Newfoundland town known as "iceberg alley"

    Ferryland, Newfoundland, is host to a special visitor, as seen here on Sunday: a giant iceberg, the first of the season. Experts said the surge is due to unusually strong counter-clockwise winds, and perhaps the effects of global warming.
    USA  missile system en route to Korean peninsula

    USA missile system en route to Korean peninsula

    While the nuclear test has yet to happen, Pence pushed the theme of tough talk after Sunday's failed missile launch. Dent said the relocation efforts for Japan and South Korea have been in the works for some time.
    Russia, Google reach $7.8 million settlement on Android case

    Russia, Google reach $7.8 million settlement on Android case

    Under the terms of the agreement, Google will still have to pay a total of 439 million roubles ($7.85 million) in fines. Google has settled its long-running court battle with the Russian search engine Yandex .
  • Google builds ad-blocking filter for Chrome

    Google builds ad-blocking filter for Chrome

    This is a defensive move to counter popular ad-blocking software, which often allows ads from organisations that pay a fee. One is to block all advertising that appears on the sites with offending ads, instead of individual offending ads.

    Trump reverses himself on NATO, China, Russia and more

    At least for this week, Trump doesn't seem to be getting his views on the world in between stories of lizard men from Alex Jones. And the only thing Beijing might think was worse, she said, would be a unified and US-allied Korean Peninsula on the border.
    CA affirms Pemberton's conviction for killing of Filipino transgender

    CA affirms Pemberton's conviction for killing of Filipino transgender

    The CA agreed with the trial court that Pemberton's detention at Camp Aguinaldo should be credited to his jail time. The two met in a bar in October 2014 and went to a motel near a former U.S. naval base north of the capital Manila.
  • NCAA expected to announce championship game sites, will N.C. host?

    NCAA expected to announce championship game sites, will N.C. host?

    The NCAA decision comes 14 days after the Republican-controlled state legislature approved House Bill 142 and Democratic Gov. Altogether, there were 10 Division I championship events selected for North Carolina venues, as well as five Div.
    Candreva, Icardi goals not enough to give Inter win in Milan derby

    Candreva, Icardi goals not enough to give Inter win in Milan derby

    Milan got back in the match in the 66th minute when Romagnoli volleyed in Suso's cross from close range, giving Milan new belief. Later on Saturday Juventus dispatched bottom-side Pescara 2-0 with goals from Gonzalo Higuaín, taking his season's tally to 29.

    US officials say Russian inaction enabled Syria chemical attack

    Trump launched the 59 Tomahawk missiles early on Friday morning in revenge for Syria's chemical attack which left 79 people dead. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the Assad regime must be brought into line after last week's chemical gas attack.

CONNECT