SCOTUS Hears MO Religious Discrimination Case

With Trump pick aboard, top US court tackles religious rights
With Trump Pick Aboard, Supreme Court Tackles Religious Rights

20 April, 2017

A challenge to a 2015 court decision invalidating a Colorado voucher programme is pending before the justices, awaiting the Trinity Lutheran case's outcome. - The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments about whether a state benefit program could exclude churches due to their religious status.

The court must decide whether Missouri is entitled to reject a church grant to use recycled tires to resurface a playground.

Citing discrimination, the church sued the state, and although it lost in the lower courts, it is now looking for a SCOTUS ruling that would ensure that schools run by churches can not be excluded from government programs providing assistance to non-profit organizations. The church sued and lost in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then appealed to the nation's highest court. The state argued in its brief to the court that Trinity Lutheran congregants are still free to practice their religion; they just won't be able to do it with state funding.

It's no wonder-the justices had a lot of time to think about this case, since they granted review in January 2016 and appeared to hold off in hearing the case until a ninth justice was confirmed.

Newly elected Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, recently announced that his administration would reverse course and allow religious organizations to apply for and be eligible for such state grants.

Trinity Lutheran sued, noting its grant request was for a non-religious objective. Gorsuch asked. "And second, how do we tell the difference between the two, if that's the line we're going to draw?"

The state didn't get many converts.

What does this have to do with Colorado?

The Trinity Lutheran case is one of the most anticipated of the current court term.

Former Missouri Supreme Court Justice Mike Wolff believes it does. While a judge for a USA appeals court in Colorado, Gorsuch argued that religious freedom protected the store chain Hobby Lobby from the Affordable Care Act's requirement that it would have to offer its employees free birth control coverage.

Google Earth relaunches with new storytelling and exploration features
Additionally, Google is porting the infamous but less-known I'm feeling lucky feature to elevate the new Google Earth experience. Google Earth responds directly with the answer or what is it thinks is the correct answer to your voice-based search query.

Carrick: Manchester United won't give up on top four
They started fast, but I think we controlled well, defended well and we made some mistakes in the second half. Maybe Ibrahimovic will be in an LA Galaxy shirt next season after all...

A bargaining chip on eve of referendum — Turkey-EU ties
Also noticeable, the many posters supporting the Turkish President and the "Yes" campaign granting broad new powers. Although opinion polls show the electorate nearly evenly split, the contest has not been an equal or fair one.

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. But this argument is incomplete: religious organizations benefit from all sorts of tax breaks, and the programs they run directly - even ones which don't seem obviously "religious" - are often categorized as part of their "ministry" in order to take advantage of those.

If the high court rules in favor of the church, Michael Bindas of the Institute for Justice, which supports the church, says it could result in a major shift in the law on churches and public funding. As the founders recognized, separation of church and state is an indispensable requirement of individual liberty, protecting religious institutions from potential interference from the government, and vice-versa.

The state ranked Trinity fifth on the list of 44 applicants, but refused it permission to participate.

Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the most outspoken in backing Missouri's ban, noting the difficulty states could face determining whether funds going to a religious entity are being used for a secular purposes.

James R. Layton, a lawyer for the state, said on the other hand that the clause in Missouri's constitution that prohibits the granting of taxpayer monies to any church, sect, or religion, simply means the state should not be "forced" to release money for Trinity Lutheran Church. The court Friday asked the church and the state to tell it whether the governor's announcement affects the case.

"The church now has the ability to receive taxpayer dollars", Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri, said. Three-quarters of the USA states have provisions similar to Missouri's barring funding for religious entities.

The justices wondered whether church schools could seek public money for computers and textbooks. These "no-aid" clauses safeguard religious freedom by ensuring that citizens have freedom of conscience to choose which religions (if any) they will voluntarily support.

Chief Justice John Roberts, meanwhile, wanted to know if a state program that gives school groups tours of the state capitol could discriminate against religious schools.

ADF said it is defending the long-held First Amendment principle that the government can not exclude religious organizations from government programs that provide purely nonreligious benefits.

More news

  • Trump admin. declines to brand China a currency manipulator

    Japan and South Korea are concerned Trump will overlook China's aggression toward its neighbors. Trump said. "So, I'm dealing with China with great respect".
    WWE Smackdown Live Results 4/18/17

    WWE Smackdown Live Results 4/18/17

    Charlotte said it has been seven days since she moved from Monday Night Raw to SmackDown Live in the "superstar shakeup". NXT tag team The Bollywood Boyz debuted on the show, helping Mahal win the match by holding Sami Zayn's legs.
    Brief marriage precedes fatal San Bernardino school shooting

    Brief marriage precedes fatal San Bernardino school shooting

    Anderson had a criminal history that included weapons charges, drug charges and accusations of domestic violence, Burguan said. Burguan said it appeared Anderson was trying to contact his wife to convince her to return home, but she resisted.
  • USS Carl Vinson sailed away from, not to, Korean Peninsula

    USS Carl Vinson sailed away from, not to, Korean Peninsula

    However, it was all a misunderstanding as neither the USS Carl Vinson nor any strike group was headed there yet . But the group was actually father away over the weekend, moving through the Sunda Strait into the Indian Ocean.
    Most Americans no longer think Trump keeps his promises

    Most Americans no longer think Trump keeps his promises

    The poll, which was taken on Friday, asked 1,500 American adults what they thought of the job Trump was doing as president. Trump, from time to time, has been tweeting and re-tweeting polls that are favourable to his administration.

    Italy's Emma Morano, the world's oldest person, dies at 117

    As a single woman, she made a living making jute bags and working in a hotel, the AP reported past year . Bava also lives in Verbania and had been her physician for almost a quarter of a century.
  • Bulls Take on Celtics in Playoffs

    It's key when you have a point guard like him that controls the whole game- you just have to play. "Tonight, our job was easy". Their star, Isaiah Thomas , lost his 22-year-old sister, Chyna, in a vehicle accident the day before the playoffs started.
    Kawann Short, Panthers Agree to 5-Year Contract Reportedly Worth $80M

    Kawann Short, Panthers Agree to 5-Year Contract Reportedly Worth $80M

    Kawann Short got the deal he was looking for from the Carolina Panthers , who avoided another messy split with a franchise player. The Carolina Panthers made sure Kawann Short's contract situation wasn't going to end the same away Josh Norman's did a year ago.
    Palestinian Intifada Leader Announces Hunger Strike Via the New York Times

    Palestinian Intifada Leader Announces Hunger Strike Via the New York Times

    Opinion polls indicate that Barghouti enjoys widespread support in his quest to replace Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Israeli authorities argue administrative detention protects at-risk informants and is needed for the country's security.
  • Trump signs 'Buy American, Hire American' order

    That needs to change, President Donald Trump said in a message to Americans on Tuesday in his speech at Snap-on Tools in Kenosha. There's at least one thing Sen. "Simply reviewing the programme is too little, too late", Senator Dick Durbin said.

    Pats RB White gets 3-year extension

    He wasn't much of a factor in the run game in 2015, going down on initial contact pretty much every time he carried the ball. They elaborated on their decision to skip the proceedings in a video titled, " StandingPats (Be Patriots )".

    BP's Alaska North Slope Well Stops Leaking Crude Oil

    In general, oil companies have been producing oil and pumping associated natural gas back into reservoirs. The authorities have not established yet, what prompted the well to discharge oil and gas.