The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State
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Compiled by Susan Batte




 

June 19, 2000   Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe [99-62]
Opinion
The District's policy permitting student-led, student-initiated prayer at football games violates the Establishment Clause. pp. 9-26.
(2000)   Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish Board of Educ. The Supreme Court decided not to review the lower court ruling which struck down a school district's anti-evolution disclaimer.
(1999)   DiLorento v. Downey USD The Supreme Court let stand, without comment, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that a school district was within its rights to discontinue a program of paid advertising signs on school grounds rather than accept a sign promoting the Ten Commandments.
June 28, 2000   Mitchell et al. v. Helms et al. [No. 98-1648.]
Opinion
Chapter 2 of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981 channels federal funds via state educational agencies (SEA's) to local educational agencies (LEA's), which in turn lend educational materials and equipment, such as library and media materials and computer software and hardware, to public and private elementary and secondary schools to implement "secular, neutral, and nonideological" programs is constitutional.
August 14, 2000 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Birgit Ehlers-Renzi; Vincent Renzi, v. Connelly School of the Holy Child, Incorporated [No. 99-2352]
Opinion
A Roman Catholic school which is constructing improvements and additions to the school without obtaining a "special exception," challenge the constitutionality of a Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance§ 59-G-2.19(c), which exempts such schools from the special exception requirement. The contention is that the ordinance violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment. The court reversed a lower court ruling that agreed that such did violate the Establishment Clause.
August 29, 2000 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Hood V. Medford Board of Education A federal court was evenly divided in the case of a New Jersey boy barred from reading his favorite Bible story to his first-grade class, letting stand a lower court ruling that said the school district did not violate the boy's free-speech rights.
December 11, 2000 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Simmons-Harris v. Zelman (12/11/00 - No. 00-3055, 3060, 3063)
Opinion
Ohio Pilot Scholarship Program school voucher program violates the Establishment Clause because it does not permit private citizens to direct government aid freely, but rather restricts choice to religious institutions and spaces with only a few alternative possibilities.
December 13, 2000 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Books v. City of Elkhart, Indiana (12/13/00 - No. 00-1114)
Opinion
Monument inscribed with Ten Commandments displayed on lawn of municipal building violates the Establishment Clause because plaintiffs exercising right or duty to attend government building must view religious object they wish to avoid.
December 13, 2000
(February 8, 2001)
7th Circuit Court of Appeals Books v. City Elkhart, Indiana (02/08/01 - No. 00-1114)
Opinion
The Establishment Clause acknowledges America's "spiritual partimony" and requires that the government exercise restraint to prevent citizens from becoming outsiders in the eyes of our governmental system.
January 30, 2001 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Doe v. Beaumont Indep. Sch. (01/29/01 - No. 97-40429)
Opinion
Where the ultimate question in an Establishment Clause case is the equality of treatment, the district court should examine the targeted program in its full context, viewing it as it actually operates in its setting, including other programs similar in purpose and function.
February 27, 2001 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Johnson v. Econ. Dev. Corp. Of County of Oakland (02/27/01 - No. 99-1884)
Opinion
Issuance of tax-exempt revenue bonds to finance construction of private religious school buildings does not violate the First Amendment's Establishment Clause where the bonds had a secular purpose and were awarded without regard to religion.
March 9, 2001 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Kikumura v. Hurley (03/09/01 - No. 99-1284)
Opinion
While the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 USC 2000bb-1, is unconstitutional as applied to states, it may still be validly applied against the federal government.
March 16, 2001 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Am. Civil Liberties Union of Ohio v. Capitol Square Review and Advisory Bd. (03/16/01 - No. 98-4106)
Opinion
Ohio's statutory adoption of the motto: "With God, All Things Are Possible" under Ohio Rev. Code 5.06 does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because its sentiment is part of the country's long and deeply entrenched tradition of civic piety, or "ceremonial deism."
March 29, 2001 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Gentala v. the City of Tucson (03/30/01 - No. 97-17062)
Opinion
Establishment Clause allows a city to withhold "civic event" subsidies for the public use of its facilities from religious groups without violating the 1st Amendment rights of the groups.
March 29, 2001 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Kee v. City of Rowlett Texas (03/28/01 - No. 99-10555)
Opinion
The secret electronic recording of private prayers and conversations directed at deceased relatives does not violate any reasonable expectation of privacy where the speakers acknowledge the possibility of eavesdroppers who might have been in close proximity to the grave site.
April 20, 2001 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Destefano v. Emergency Hous. Group, Inc. (05/08/01 - No. 99-9146)
Opinion
State's funding of alcoholic treatment facility does not violate the Establishment Clause despite the facility's inclusion in its program of religious Alcoholics Anonymous sessions, if the facility's staff neither coerces clients to attend such sessions nor itself indoctrinates them.
April 27, 2001 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Freedom from Religion Found, Inc. v. Bugher (04/27/01 - No. 99-2850)
Opinion
A state program that subsidizes telecommunications access for schools which fails to restrict the use of cash grants to private, sectarian schools in order to reduce the cost of their existing telecommunications access expenses violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
May 18 2001 United States District Court has upheld the right of a student to wear a 'Straight Pride' sweatshirt at Woodbury High School …

St. Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press
http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/living/education/3146637.htm
http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=13974
http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=15639

May 29, 2001   City of Elkhart v. William A. Books et al (05/29/01 - 00-1407)
Opinion
Rehnquist, dissenting
High Court Refuses Ten Commandments Case
June 11, 2001   Good News Club v. Milford Cent. Sch., No 99-2036 (U.S.S.C June 11, 2001)
Opinion >
Government actors may not exclude speech from a limited public forum on the basis of the religious nature of the speech, because the exclusion constitutes unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination without justification by the Establishment Clause.
June 18, 2001 United States Supreme Court Hood v. Meedford Board of Education The Supreme Court said it would not get involved in a fight over whether a public school teacher should have allowed a first-grader to read his classmates a story from The Beginner's Bible.
June 26, 2001 Supreme Court of Texas Williams v. Lara (06/28/01 - No. 99-0273)
Opinion
County jail's operation of a voluntary chaplain training unit for prisoners violates the establishment clause of the Constitution.
District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals Henderson v. Kennedy (06/26/01 - No. 00-5070)
Opinion
A Park Service regulation prohibiting the sale of goods in areas immediately surrounding the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument does not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Free Speech Clause, or Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clause.
4th Circuit Court of Appeals Columbia Union Coll. v. Oliver (06/26/01 - No. 00-2193)
Opinion
For purposes of determining whether financial assistance to an institute of higher learning would violate the Establishment Clause, it no longer matters whether an institution is "pervasively sectarian" as long as the aid program has a secular purpose and uses neutral criteria.
July 2, 2001
Opinion
California Appellate Districts Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc. v. Superior Court (Dep't of Managed Health Care)(07/02/01 - No. C037025) Health & Saf. Code 1367.25 and Ins. Code 10123.196, which require employers to provide for contraceptive coverage in employee health plans, does not violate the constitutional rights of religious employers whose religious faith opposes birth control.
10th Circuit Court of Appeals Wells v. City & County of Denver (07/02/01 - No. 00-1040)
Opinion
Non-sectarian holiday display constituted government speech when city built, paid for, and erected the display, and city may exclude private messages without violating 1st Amendment.
July 24, 2001 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Brown v. Gilmore (07/24/01 - No. 00-2132; 00-2400)
Opinion
A Virginia law mandating a moment of silence in classrooms does not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution because it accommodates religious exercise but does not mandate it.
August 8, 2001 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Linnemeir v. Bd. Of Trs. Of Purdue Univ. (08/16/01 - No. 01-3002)
Opinion
The First Amendment does not forbid a state university from providing a venue for the expression of views antagonistic to conventional Christian beliefs.
September 20, 2001 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Deboer v. Village of Oak Park (09/20/01 - No. 99-4153, 99-4226)
Opinion
City restriction on assemblies on its properties for a "civic program or activity" that categorically excludes any event involving religious prayer and worship constitutes impermissible viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.
September 26, 2001 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Littlefield v. Forney Indep. Sch. Dist. (09/26/01 - No. 00-10965)
Opinion
While parents have a fundamental right in the upbringing and education of their children, this right does not mandate that a parental objection to a public school uniform policy requires a strict scrutiny analysis.
October 1-2, 2001 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Warner v. City of Boca Raton (10/01/01 - No. 99-13730)
Opinion
Florida Supreme Court certified to determine whether Florida's Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects more religiously motivated conduct than the US constitution.
11th Circuit Court of Appeals Gerling Global Reinsurance Corp. Of Am. v. Gallagher (10/02/01 - No. 00-16542)
Opinion
Florida's Holocaust Victims Insurance Act, Fla. Stat. 626.9543, requiring that Florida insurers report not only regarding their own Holocaust-era policies, but also the policies of parent and subsidiary companies, violates the Due Process Clause.
District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals Henderson v. Kennedy (10/02/01 - No. 00-5070)
Opinion
Amendments to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 USC 2000cc-5(7)(A), extending the protections to "any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief," did not alter the propriety of inquiring into the importance of a religious practice when assessing whether a substantial burden exists.
November 9, 2001 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Orin v. Barclay (11/09/01 - No. 00-35177)
Opinion (PDF)
Public official may not restrict demonstration on public property from engaging in religious speech or worship.
November 29, 2001 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Knights of Columbus v. Town of Lexington (11/29/01 - No. 01-246)
Opinion
Local ordinance that prohibited all unattended structures from historic site, to preserve aesthetic value of historic site, does not violate the Free Exercise clause of the 1st Amendment.
December 11, 2001 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Doe v. Sch. Bd. Of Ouachita Parish (12/11/01 - No. 00-30874)
Opinion
La. Rev. Stat. 17:2115(A), which required local school boards and parishes to permit school authorities to allow students and teachers to observe a "brief time in silent meditation" at the beginning of each school day, violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it does not have a secular legislative purpose.
December 12, 2001 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Knight v. State of Connecticut Dep't of Pub. Health (12/12/01 - No. 00-7289, 00-9131)
Opinion
Public employees do not have the right to discuss and promote their religious beliefs while working with clients receiving government services.
December 14, 2001 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Gernetzke v. Kenosha Unified Sch.
Dist. No. 1
(12/14/01 - No. 01-2084)
Opinion
20 USC 4071(f) of the Equal Access Act allows a school principal to prohibit a student religious group from painting a religious mural on school property where principal also prohibited other murals for non-religious, school discipline grounds.
January 7, 2002 United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Scott McCallum (1/7/01 - No. 00-C-617-C)
Opinion (HTML)  (PDF)
First challenge of direct, unrestricted taxpayer funding of a faith-based initiatives.
January 15, 2002 U.S. Supreme Court Thomas v. Chicago Park Dist. (01/15/02 - No. 00-1249)
Opinion
A content-neutral permit scheme regulating uses of a public forum need not have procedural safeguards required for subject matter speech regulations.
9th Circuit Court of Appeals Am. Family Ass'n, Inc. v. City & County of San Francisco (01/16/02 - No. 00-16415)
Opinion PDF
City resolution expressing disagreement with advertising campaign sponsored by religious groups that condemned homosexuality did not violate the Establishment Clause or the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
January 24, 2002 The United States District Court For The Western District of Virginia Lynchburg Division Mellen & Knick v. Bunting (01/24/02 - No. 6:01 CV 00026)
Opinion HTML  PDF
A federal court judge in Lynchburg ruled today that school-sponsored prayers at the Virginia Military Institute are unconstitutional because they allow government to "become impermissibly entangled with religion."
January 29, 2002 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Sklar v. Commn'r Internal Revenue (01/29/02 - No. 00-70753)
Opinion PDF
Because appellants did not show that their "dual payment" tuition payments are deductible under the Tax Code (section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code), or that the total payments they made for both secular and religious school education their children received exceeded the market value of other secular private school education available, the IRS did not err in disallowing their deductions.
February 12, 2002 District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals Univ. Of Great Falls v. Nat'l Labor Relations Bd. (02/12/02 - No. 00-1415)
Opinion
Under the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Catholic Bishop, the NLRB lacks jurisdiction over petitioner, whose organization is religiously operated, and the First Amendment prevents the Board from applying its own "substantial religious character" test that would enable it to probe petitioner's "religious mission."
February 25, 2002 U. S. Supreme Court O'Bannon v. Indiana Civil Liberties Union et al
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Indiana's appeal that it should be allowed to erect a limestone monument with the Ten Commandments on the statehouse lawn in Indianapolis.
March 7, 2002
Eastern District of Pennsylvania Sally E. Flynn v. West Chester County Philadelphia -- a U.S. District judge ruled that the Ten Commandments plaque posted outside the Chester County Courthouse is unconstitutional and must be removed. [Note: As of 03/17/02, the opinion is not available on line.]
March 8, 2002 District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals Levitan v. Ashcroft (03/08/02 - No. 00-5346)
Opinion
To determine whether a prison rule violates the First Amendment by preventing inmates from observing religious practice, a trial court must make a four-part inquiry.
March 14, 2002 Supreme Court of Florida Malicki v. Doe (03/14/02 - No. SC01-179)
Opinion PDF
The First Amendment does not provide a shield to third-party tort claims behind which a church may avoid liability for harm caused to an adult and a child parishioner arising from the alleged sexual assault or battery by one of its clergy.
Supreme Court of Florida Doe v. Evans (03/14/02 - No. SC94450)
Opinion PDF
The First Amendment does not provide a shield behind which a church may avoid liability for harm caused to a third party arising from the alleged sexual misconduct by one of its clergy members during the course of an established marital counseling relationship.
April 4, 2002 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Virts v. Consol. Freightways Corp. Of Delaware (04/04/02 - No. 00-5501)
Opinion
Where plaintiff truck driver's proposals to accommodate his religious belief against going on sleeper runs with females had the potential of adversely impacting other drivers, the evidence established that defendant would suffer an undue hardship in attempting to accommodate his religious belief, and the district court did not err in granting defendant summary judgment on plaintiff's claim of religious discrimination.
April 11, 2002 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Beerheide v. Suthers ( 04/11/02 - No. 00-1086 )
Opinion
In claim alleging that inmates' First Amendment right to free exercise of religion was violated when they were not provided kosher meals, Department of Corrections' proposed plan of cost contribution by inmates was properly rejected as not rationally related to legitimate penological concerns
April 30, 2002 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Bryce v. Colorado District Church of the Nazarene ( 04/30/02 - No. 00-1515 )
Opinion
When a church makes a personnel decision based on religious doctrine and holds meetings to discuss that decision and the ecclesiastical doctrine underlying it, the courts will not intervene.
May 07, 2002 U. S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Prater v. Burnside ( 05/07/02 - No. 00-6538 )
Opinion
City's decision to develop, for a public purpose, a previously dedicated roadway located between two lots owned by appellant church was not a "taking" and did not violate the Free Exercise Clause, due process, or the Establishment Clause.
May 15, 2002 Supreme Court of California Silo v. Chw Med. Found ( 05/16/02 - No. S095918 )
Opinion
There is no clear public policy against religious organizations prohibiting what they consider to be inappropriate religious speech in the workplace, and therefore no liability in tort for such an organization's termination of an employee who engages in such speech.
U. S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Campos v. City of Blue Springs, Missouri ( 05/15/02 - No. 01-2814 )
Opinion PDF
Where plaintiff demonstrated that a city deliberately created intolerable working conditions with the intention of forcing plaintiff to quit, evidence allowed jury to find that plaintiff was forced to quit her position because she was not a Christian; rejected jury instructions were either unnecessary or erroneously statements of law.
May 20, 2002 U. S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Commack Self-serv. Kosher Meats, Inc. v. Weiss ( 05/21/02 - No. 00-9116, 00-9118 )
Opinion
New York Agriculture & Markets Laws, aimed at preventing fraud in the kosher food industry, 1) excessively entangle state and religion through enforcement requirements, and 2) impermissibly advance Orthodox Judaism by causing consumers of kosher products to purchase only those that are kosher under the Orthodox definition.
U. S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Dixon v. Edwards ( 05/22/02 - No. 01-2337 )
Opinion
A decision by a bishop, declining to license a priest in the Diocese of Washington, must be given deference by a civil court, because church authorities shall determine essential qualifications of clergy and whether the candidate possesses them.
May 28, 2002 U. S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals People of Guam v. Guerrero ( 05/28/02 - No. 00-71247 )
Opinion PDF
The Supreme Court of Guam may not interpret the Territory of Guam's "Bill of Rights", a federal statute, to allow greater religious freedom than that provided by the First Amendment; the Religious Freedom Restoration Act provides no defense to a "rastafarian" prosecuted for importation of marijuana, not simple possession.
June 12, 2002 U. S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Fifth Ave. Presbyterian Church v. the City of New York ( 06/12/02 - No. 02-7073 )
Opinion
A preliminary injunction, preventing the City from dispersing homeless individuals sleeping by invitation on a church's landings and steps, was properly issued where the church demonstrated a likelihood of success on its claim under the Free Exercise Clause.
June 13, 2002 Supreme Court of Washington Gallwey, v. Grimm ( 6/13/2002
No. 68565-7 )
Opinion PDF
The Supreme Court of the State of Washington overruled a trial court and held that the state's Educational Opportunity Grant (EOG) Program does not violate the state constitution when it allows college students to use their tuition grants at religiously-affiliated schools of higher education. But the Court sidestepped the question of whether Washington's "Blaine Amendment" was itself a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
June 17, 2002 U.S. Supreme Court Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc'y of New York, Inc. V. Village of Stratton ( No. 00-1737 (U.S.S.C. June 17, 2002) )
Opinion
Provisions of a village ordinance, making it a misdemeanor to engage in door-to-door neighborhood "canvassing" without first registering with the mayor's office and receiving a permit, violate the First Amendment as it applies to religious proselytizing, anonymous political speech, and the distribution of hand bills.
June 26, 2002 U. S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Newdow v. U. S. Congress (06/26/02 - No. 00-16423)
Opinion PDF
The addition of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag (via 1954 federal statute), and a school district policy of teacher-led daily recitation of the Pledge, with the added words included, violate the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.
June 27, 2002 U. S. Supreme Court Zelman v. Simmons-Harris ( No. 00-1751 U.S.S.C. June 27, 2002)
Opinion
A program giving educational choices and aid to certain students attending both religious and non-religious public and private schools, enacted for the valid secular purpose of providing educational assistance to poor children, is one of true "private choice" and does not offend the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.
July 2, 2002 California Appellate Districts Church of Christ in Hollywood v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County (CAGE-BARILE) (07/02/02 -
No. B158554)
Opinion HTML  PDF
A church is entitled to a restraining order to prevent an expelled member from engaging in disruptive conduct on church property, because the right of free speech does not trump the church's right to prohibit disruption and trespassing on its property, and the issue is not one requiring resolution of an ecclesiastical dispute.
July 18, 2002 U. S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Logiodice v. Trustees of Maine Cent. Inst. (07/18/02 - No. 01-2721)
Opinion
A school district which underwrites secondary education for students at a privately operated high school, was not a "state actor" for due process purposes, where it did not engage in a traditionally exclusive public function, and was not "entwined" with the government.
U. S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Cox v. Miller (07/18/02 - No. 01-2515)
Opinion
Assuming that Alcoholics Anonymous is a religious organization for purposes of New York's cleric-congregant privilege, appellant failed to establish that relevant communications were made for the purpose of obtaining spiritual guidance, thus evidence was properly admitted.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Davey v. Locke (07/18/02 - No. 00-35962)
Opinion PDF
A state of Washington law, denying otherwise-qualified students a state-funded scholarship solely because the students decide to pursue a degree in theology, is discriminatory on its face and is unconstitutional under strict scrutiny.
U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Summum v. City of Ogden (07/19/02 - No. 01-4022)
Opinion
Under the free speech clause of the First Amendment, a city cannot display a Ten Commandments monument on its property, while declining to display a "Seven Principles" monument proferred by the Summum religion.
July 25, 2002 U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Te-Ta-Ma Truth Found. v. World Church of The Creator (07/25/02 - No. 02-1381)
Opinion PDF
Use of the phrase "Church of the Creator" as a trademark is descriptive, rather than generic, and recognition of the mark does not violate the First Amendment.
United States District Court - Eastern District of Louisiana ACLU of Louisiana v. Foster (07/25/02 - No. 02-1440)
Press Release
New Orleans, LA - Citing misuse of taxpayer dollars, a federal district court today blocked the state of Louisiana from funding religious activities in the Governor's Program on Abstinence.
August 5, 2002 Florida Appeals Court Bush v. Holmes (08/05/02 - 767 So.2d 668)
Opinion

Bush v. Holmes, 767 So.2d 668 (Fla. App. 2000), review denied, 790 So.2d 1104 (2001), opinion on remand (Fla. Cir. Ct. Aug. 5, 2002) (holding that voucher program violates state constitution):

Plaintiffs challenged a Florida program that provides vouchers to students at "failing schools," asserting that it violates the federal and state constitutions.

The trial court first held that the voucher system violates Article IX, Section 1, of the Florida Constitution, which states that the government must provide "a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools." The court enjoined the defendants from implementing the voucher system, but allowed currently enrolled students to remain in private schools until the conclusion of the 1999-2000 school year.

The Florida Court of Appeals reversed, finding that Article IX, Section I allows the legislature to use public funds for private school education in circumstances where it finds such use to be necessary. The appeals court declined to reach the plaintiffs' other claims, which were remanded to the lower court for consideration.

On August 5, 2002, the trial court held that the voucher program violates Article I, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution, which provides that "[n]o revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution."

August 8, 2002 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Gospel Missions of Am. v. City of Los Angeles (08/08/02 - No. 00-55993)
Opinion PDF
A religious corporation did not have standing to challenge professional fundraiser provisions of a city's charitable solicitations law that were not the subject of a prior injunction; an endorsement requirements provision must be analyzed under "exacting scrutiny."
August 14, 2002 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Steele v. Indus. Dev. Bd. Of Metro. Gov't Nashville (08/14/02 - No. 00-6646/6647/6648/6649)
Opinion
Issuance of tax exempt revenue bonds to a sectarian university, as part of a neutral program to benefit education, including that provided by sectarian institutions, confers at best only an indirect benefit to the school, and does not violate the Establishment Clause.
August 23, 2002 U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentrucky ACLU of Kentucky v. Mercer County, Kentucky (Case identification not located)
Opinion(Written opinion has not been posted on Internet)

A US District Court in Lexington, Kentucky, ruled against the American Civil Liberties Union in their suit to have the Ten Commandments removed from their display in the Mercer County Courthouse. The Commandments were displayed along with other historical and legal texts.

US District Judge Karl Forrester denied the legal group's motion for a preliminary injunction, noting that the historical influence of the commandments was beyond "rational dispute," even though "plaintiffs might wish it were so." He concluded that "plaintiffs' wishes cannot change history."

The facts recited in this case come from WorldNetDaily.com, posted on the Internet on August 23, 2002.

September 9, 2002 California Appellate Districts Rubin V. City of Burbank (09/09/02 - No. B148288)
Opinion HTML PDF
An invocation to "Jesus Christ" at a city council meeting violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and a court order related to prayer at meetings did not constitute censorship or viewpoint discrimination under the Free Speech and Exercise Clauses.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Prince V. Jacoby (09/09/02 - No. 99-35490)
Opinion HTML  PDF
A school district violated either the Equal Access Act or a student's First Amendment rights, by denying her Bible Club the same rights and benefits as other school district student clubs, and in refusing to allow the club equal religion-neutral access to school facilities.
September 19, 2002 U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Greenville Women's Clinic v. Comm'r, S. Carolina Dep't of Health & Envtl. Control (09/19/02 - No. 01-2090/2235)
Opinion
A South Carolina regulation, establishing standards for the licensing of abortion clinics, is not an unconstitutional delegation of licensing authority, does not violate the Establishment Clause, is not unconstitutionally vague, and does not violate patient privacy rights.
October 3, 2002 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Winn v. Killian (10/03/02 - No. 01-15901)
Opinion PDF
Where residents and taxpayers, who contend that an Arizona statute permitting tax credits for contributions that support parochial schools violates the Establishment Clause, do not challenge any procedure specified in the Tax Injunction Act, and seek only to enjoin granting of a tax credit, the action is justiciable in federal court.
October 11, 2002 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Adland V. Russ (10/09/02 - No. 00-6139)
Opinion
A provision of a Kentucky Senate Resolution, directing that a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments be made part of a historical and cultural display on Capitol grounds, under the facts is an impermissible endorsement of religion under the Establishment Clause.
U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City V. Salt Lake City Corp. (10/09/02 - No. 01-4111)
Opinion
A city's prohibition of expressive activity on a public pedestrian easement retained by the city (a public forum), after the sale of a portion of a downtown public street to a religious organization, violated the First Amendment.
October 16, 2002 U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Congregation Kol Ami V. Abington Township (10/16/02 - No. 01-3077)
Opinion PDF
District court failed to determine whether a proposed land use was similarly situated to uses currently permitted, in finding that certain provisions of a township's zoning ordinance violated equal protection by not permitting churches in a residential district.
October 25, 2002 U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Tenafly Eruv Ass'n, Inc. V. the Borough of Tenafly (10/24/02 - No. 01-3301)
Opinion PDF
Though Jewish Orthodox plaintiffs are not likely to prevail on their Fair Housing Act claim, and do not present a viable free speech claim, they are reasonably likely to show that the Borough violated the Free Exercise Clause by applying an ordinance prohibiting the public posting of religious material selectively, against conduct motivated by Orthodox Jewish beliefs. Preliminary injunction barring the Borough from removing lechis, religious markers, from telephone poles ordered.
November 18, 2002 In The District Court of The United States For The Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division Glassroth V. Moore (11-18-02 -Civil Action No. 01-T-1268-N)
Opinion HTML  PDF
A Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of Alabama's judicial building violates the constitution's ban on government promotion of religion, a federal judge ruled Monday.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson gave Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who had had the 5,300-pound granite monument installed in the state building, 30 days to remove it.
November 19, 2002 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Barry Baker v. Adams County/Ohio Valley School Board (11-19-02 - No. 02-3777)
Opinion
Granite monuments displaying the Ten Commandments must be removed from the grounds of four public high schools in southern Ohio, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
A panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 to uphold a federal court's June decision.
December 04, 2002 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

The Ninth Circuit panel that issued the original Pledge of Allegiance decision back in June (Judges Alfred Goodwin, Stephen Reinhardt and Ferdinand Fernandez) ruled today that Dr. Newdow has Article III standing to contest government action affecting his daughter despite California state court orders vesting sole custody in the child's mother and enjoining him from prosecuting the Pledge case on his daughter's behalf. Today's ruling comes in response to a motion to intervene filed by the girl's mother and contains some interesting comments on not only Newdow's standing but also the substantive Establishment Clause issue.

The panel also issued an order denying the U.S. Senate's motion to intervene.

However, the panel noted that it would treat the Senate's rehearing petition and supporting memorandum as an amicus brief if the Senate so desires.

These rulings should clear the decks for action on various motions for reconsideration pending before the panel as well as petitions for rehearing en banc.

Newdow v. U. S. Congress (12/04/02 - 00-16423 O)
Opinion PDF
Order Denying Sandra Banning's Motion to Intervene
Newdow v. U. S. Congress (12/04/02 - 00-16423 O)
Opinion PDF
Order Denying Senate's Motion to Intervene
December 6, 2002 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals U.S. v. Rayborn (12/06/02 - No. 01-5632)
Opinion
The government provided sufficient evidence to permit a rational jury to find that a church was actively employed in commercial activities with an effect on interstate commerce, thus dismissal of an indictment for arson under 18 U.S.C. section 844(i) is reversed.
December 10, 2002 U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tarpley v. Allen County (12/10/02 - No. 01-2982)
Opinion PDF
A jail's refusal to provide an inmate with a version of the Bible which included interpretive commentary did not violate the inmate's First Amendment right to free exercise of religion..
December 27, 2002 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Mayweathers v. Newland (12/27/02 - No. 01-16505/16607/17133)
Opinion PDF
The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, under which prisoners are allowed to attend certain religious services, is a constitutional exercise of Congress's Spending Clause authority, and does not violate the Establishment Clause.
January 17, 2003 U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Mandell v. the County of Suffolk (01/17/03 - No. 01-7729)
Opinion
Dismissal of Title VII claims is reversed where based on evidence submitted in support of plaintiff's prima facie case and on evidence of pretext, a reasonable juror could find that defendants' decisions not to promote plaintiff were motivated by religious discrimination. A First Amendment retaliation claim was also improperly dismissed.
January 27, 2003 U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Bruggeman v. Ryan (01/27/03 - No. 02-1730)
Opinion PDF
The Justice Department's filing of 1) an amicus brief in an appeal, and 2) a later brief as an intervenor, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 2403(a), were proper filings.
United States v. Jefferson (01/30/03 - No. 02-1864)
Opinion PDF
Felon's frequent use of marijuana will not be permitted based on his religious belief in Rastafarianism; thus, revocation of supervised release is affirmed.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Resnick v. Adams (01/27/03 - No. 01-56710)
Opinion PDF
Requiring a prisoner to fill out a standard prison form in order to receive kosher food did not violate prisoner's First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.
February 13, 2003 U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Kittery Motorcycle, Inc. v. Rowe (02/13/03 - No. 02-1666)
Opinion
A state law which authorize the sale of everything on Sundays except motor vehicles does not violate the US Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.
February 19, 2003 U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Alicea-Hernandez v. the Catholic Bishop of Chicago (02/21/03 - No. 02-2280)
Opinion PDF
The religious clauses of the First Amendment preclude jurisdiction over a suit claiming Title VII national origin and gender discrimination in employment, based on the ministerial position that plaintiff held with the church.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Lassonde V. Pleasanton Unified Sch. Dist. (02/19/03 - No. 01-17226)
Opinion PDF
School officials' actions in censoring sectarian, proselytizing portions of a high school graduation speech were necessary to avoid a conflict with the Establishment Clause.
February 28, 2003 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Newdow v. U. S. Congress
Opinion PDF
U.S. Court Won't Review Pledge of Allegiance Ruling
Read Reuters Article
March 4, 2003 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Newdow v. U. S. Congress
Opinion PDF
Ninth Circuit Court Stays Pledge of Allegiance Ruling for 90 days Stay allows schoolchildren to continue to recite pledge, pending any appeals, to the U.S. Supreme Court and its decision on whether it will review the case.
Read San Francisco Chronicle article
Read AP article
March 8, 2003 U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Edward Myers v. Loudoun County Schools
Opinion (Case Dismissed)
Judge Backs Va. Laws Requiring Pledge, Motto: U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris has upheld the constitutionality of Virginia laws that require daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the posting of the motto "In God We Trust" in state schools.
Washington Post Article
April 4, 2003 U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Freedom From Religion Found., Inc. V. Mccallum (04/02/03 - No. 02-3102)
Opinion PDF
Wisconsin correctional facilities' funding of a halfway house that incorporates Christianity into its treatment program did not violate the Establishment Clause, thus dismissal of a taxpayer suit is affirmed.
April 16, 2003 U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Doe v. Heck
Opinion PDF
Some actions taken by Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare workers in investigating corporal punishment at a private Christian school were unconstitutional, but caseworkers are entitled to qualified immunity in a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 claim.
April 28, 2003 United States Supreme Court

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal on Ten Commandments By James Vicini

Washington (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) on Monday rejected an appeal by Kentucky of a ruling that barred the display of a large granite monument with the Ten Commandments on the state Capitol grounds in Frankfort.

Without comment, the justices let stand a federal appeals court ruling that the display would violate church-state separation under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Mellen V. Bunting (04/28/03 - No. 02-1215)
Opinion
A state-operated military college's sponsoring of a supper prayer violates the Establishment Clause. Cadets' claims were moot where the cadets had graduated, but their claim present a live controversy.
May 5, 2003 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Gospel Missions of Am. V. City of Los Angeles (05/05/03 - No. 00-55993)
Opinion PDF
A non-profit religious corporation did not have standing to challenge professional fundraiser provisions of a city's charitable solicitations law. Claim preclusion bars an allegation that an ordinance prohibiting solicitation of charitable contributions without an "Information Card" is unconstitutional.
May 19, 2003 United States Supreme Court Supreme Court to Take up Key Religion Case

From the Associated Press

Washington -- The Supreme Court said Monday it will consider when government money can be spent on religious education, a follow-up to last year's landmark ruling upholding school voucher programs.

Also Monday, the court:

--Avoided a church-state question over prayer at city council meetings. The court refused to hear an appeal from the city of Burbank, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb of about 200,000 people. Two lower courts ruled that the Burbank City Council may not begin meetings with sectarian prayers such as one that invoked the name Jesus Christ and triggered a lawsuit. Irv Rubin, the late chairman of the Jewish Defense League, and Roberto Alejandro Gandara, a supporter of strict church-state separation, sued over the 1999 prayer by a Mormon minister. The case is Burbank v. Rubin, 02-1379.

--Refused to consider an appeal over $2.5 million paid to Jimmy Swaggart Ministries in a failed Baton Rouge, La., real estate development. A lower federal court had ruled last year that the televangelist did not have to return the money. The case is Hays v. Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, 02-1281.

May 30, 2003 U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Kind V. Frank (05/30/03 - No. 02-1969)
Opinion PDF
Government defendants had an objectively reasonable belief that they were not denying a prisoner's constitutional rights as a Muslim by refusing his request for a vegetarian diet, and they were entitled to qualified immunity on his 42 U.S.C. section 1983 claim.
June 3, 2003 U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals The Bronx Household of Faith V. Bd. Of Educ. Of The City of New York (06/06/03 - No. 02-7781)
Opinion PDF
Order enjoining defendants from enforcing the Board's Standard Operating Procedure section 5.11, so as to deny plaintiffs' application to rent space in a public school operated by the Board for morning meetings that include religious worship or the application of any similarly situated individual or entity, is affirmed.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Briggs V. State of Mississippi (06/03/03 - No. 02-60737)
Opinion PDF
The Mississippi state flag does not violate the Establishment Clause.
June 26, 2003 U.S. Supreme Court Lawrence V. Texas (06/26/03 - No. 02-102)
Opinion
Texas law criminalizing two people of the same sex from engaging in private, consensual sex is unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court's decision in Bowers v. Hardwick is overturned. Individual decisions regarding private, consensual intimate physical relationships are a form of "liberty" protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Freethought Soc'y V. Chester County (06/26/03 - No. 02-1765)
Opinion PDF
A permanent injunction ordering the removal of a Ten Commandments plaque affixed to a courthouse in 1920 is reversed where the plaque is not "real threat," but is instead "mere shadow."
July 1, 2003 U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Glassroth V. Moore (07/01/03 - No. 02-16708, 02-16949)
Opinion PDF
A Ten Commandments monument installed in the Alabama State Judicial Building by the Chief Judge of the Alabama Supreme Court violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and the monument must be removed.
July 15, 2003

[07/15] Wis. City Must Remove Religious Monument

Madison, Wis. (AP) - A federal judge ruled that the city of La Crosse must remove a Ten Commandments monument from a public park, saying it tried to "disguise its intent" to advance religion by selling the parcel of land to a private group.

The display still violates the separation of church and state, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote in an opinion handed down Monday.

The constitutionality of the monument, installed by the Eagles Club in 1965, was challenged by the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

After the foundation filed its lawsuit in July 2002, the city erected a fence around the monument and sold the parcel to the Eagles Club. A municipal resolution stated the intention to keep the monument "in its present location by any and all means available."

In 2000, the city of Marshfield was ordered by another federal judge to sell the land beneath a statue of Jesus in a public park. The constitutionality of that display also had been challenged by the religion foundation.

Crabb, however, found that the sale was simply an attempt by the city to "disguise its intent" to advance religion.

[07/15] Judge Rules Against Vegan Inmates in N.Y.

New York (AP) - A federal judge has refused to order a city jail to serve vegan meals to three Jewish inmates who claim the diet is part of their faith. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the Rikers Island jail had not caused the inmates the "irreparable harm" necessary for her to grant their request.

U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Donovan V. Punxsutawney Area Sch. Bd. (07/15/03 - No. 02-3897)
Opinion PDF
"Noninstructional time" encompasses plaintiff's school's morning activity period as to trigger the Equal Access Act, thus the EAA requires the school to allow a Bible club to meet during the activity period. School has engaged in impermissible viewpoint discrimination under the First Amendment, and speculative Establishment Clause concerns do not justify preventing the Bible club from meeting during the activity period.
August 1, 2003

Scouts' Balboa Park lease ruled unconstitutional

By Ray Huard and Marisa Taylor, Union-tribune Staff Writers

U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones Jr. said the city gave preferential treatment to the Scouts when it leased the 18-acre Camp Balboa, even though there is "overwhelming and uncontradicted evidence" showing that the Boy Scouts are a religious organization.

"The city handpicked as the preferred lessee an organization that describes religious belief and practice as fundamental to the services it provides," Jones wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the city and the Boy Scouts of America over the lease in August 2000 on behalf of a lesbian couple and an agnostic couple. Each couple has a son.

August 5, 2003

Birmingham, Ala. -- A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Chief Justice Roy Moore has 15 days to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judiciary Building.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson said in his order that Moore now must remove the monument by Aug. 20. Moore is appealing Thompson's ruling that the monument in unconstitutional to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Final Judgment in the Moore case may be viewed here:

Click here for more details
August 20, 2003 U.S. Supreme Court Denies Request to Block Removal of Alabama Commandments Display

The U.S. Supreme Court today turned away another last-ditch effort by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore to thwart a federal court order that he remove his granite Ten Commandments monument from the state Judicial Building.

This morning Moore filed a request with the Supreme Court to block U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson's order that the granite Ten Commandments be removed from the rotunda of the judicial building by Aug. 20. Thompson's order indicated that if Moore refused to comply, he could be found in contempt of court and substantial fines could be levied against the state.

In a one-sentence statement issued late today, the high court denied Moore's request to nullify Thompson's order for removal of the monument.

U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Civil Liberties For Urban Believers V. City of Chicago (08/20/03 - No. 01-3040)
Opinion PDF
Summary judgment for the city is affirmed in a church association's challenge to the Chicago Zoning ordinance, under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Doe V. Sch. Dist. Of the City of Norfolk (08/20/03 - No. 02-4135)
Opinion PDF
Student and his parents had standing to challenge unwelcome recitation of the Lord's Prayer at graduation ceremonies, but because the recitation was a private act, there was no affirmative school sponsorship and no constitutional violation occurred.
September 2, 2003 U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal v. Ashcroft (09/04/03 - No. 02-2323)
Opinion
Church members demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on a claim for an exemption to the Controlled Substances Act for sacramental use of hoasca, a substance containing dimethyltryptamine, and granting of a preliminary injunction is affirmed.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Kong V. Scully (09/02/03 - No. 02-15057)
Opinion PDF
Section 4454 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, permitting Medicare and Medicaid payments for non-medical care of persons whose religious tenets lead them to reject medical services, did not amount to an establishment of religion under the First Amendment.
September 9, 2003 U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Doe V. Pryor (09/11/03 - No. 02-14899)
Opinion PDF
Plaintiff does not have standing to bring an equal protection or First Amendment challenge to an anti-sodomy law, Ala. Code section 13A-6-65(a)(3), based upon the consideration that the Alabama Supreme Court gave to that statute during her custody proceeding.
U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Williams V. Morton (09/09/03 - No. 02-3653)
Opinion PDF
Free exercise of religion and equal protection claims by Muslim prisoners, challenging a prison's refusal to serve Halal meals, are rejected and summary judgment to prison officials and employees is affirmed.
September 24, 2003 U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Pugh V. Goord (09/24/03 - No. 02-0030)
Opinion PDF
In a section 1983 action alleging that a prison refused to allow Shiite Muslim plaintiffs to hold their own congregate prayer services separate from Sunni Muslim inmates, in violation of their constitutional and federal statutory rights, the district court erred by failing to provide plaintiffs adequate notice of its intention to dismiss the action.
October 3, 2003 California Appellate Districts Turlock Joint Elementary Sch. Dist. V. Public Employment Relations Bd. ((10/03/03 - No. F041187)
Opinion
A teacher's wearing of union buttons in the classroom during class time constitutes "political activity," which may be restricted by the District under the Education Code.
[The above might apply to religious buttons as well.]
October 14, 2003 United State Supreme Court Elk Grove Sch Dist V. Newdow, Michael, A. et al (10/14/03 No. 02-1624)
Details PDF
The United States Supreme Court accepted the Pledge case.
October 17, 2003 U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals US V. Dejesus (10/17/03 - No. 02-1394)
Opinion PDF
In an equal protection case, the district court's holding is affirmed where the strikes were based on the jurors' heightened religious involvement, rather than a specific religious affiliation, and were not racially based.
October 30, 2003 U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Charles v. Verhagen (10/30/03 - No. 02-3572)
Opinion PDF
In a case alleging First Amendment and Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), summary judgment to plaintiff on his prayer oil RLUIPA claim is affirmed where Congress did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by its enactment of RLUIPA.
November 3, 2003

Justices Reject Judge's Ten Commandments Appeal

By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) rejected on Monday appeals by Alabama's embattled top judge, Roy Moore, who has waged an unsuccessful legal battle to display the Ten Commandments at the state judicial building.

Without comment, the high court refused to hear two appeals by Moore, who was suspended after refusing to comply with a federal judge's order in August to remove the granite monument inscribed with the commandments because it violated constitutional church-state separation

The high court in recent years has let stand other U.S. appeals court rulings that have barred the display of large granite monuments engraved with the Ten Commandments on the grounds of state capitals.

United States Supreme Court, Page 14

Mandamus Denied

03-258 in re Roy S. Moore, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Alabama

The petition for a writ of mandamus and/or prohibition is denied.

November 7, 2003 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Cutter v. Wilkinson (11/07/03 - No. 02-3270/ 3299/3301)
Opinion
District court's denial of defendants' motions to dismiss is reversed where 42 U.S.C. section 2000cc-1 of RLUIPA violates the Establishment Clause because it favors religious rights over other fundamental rights without any showing that religious rights are at any greater risk of deprivation.
November 12, 2003 U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Van Orden v. Perry (11/12/03 - No. 02-51184)
Opinion PDF
Judgment to defendant affirmed where the Texas Legislature had a valid secular purpose for authorizing the installation of the Ten Commandments monument and the display has neither the purpose nor the effect of endorsing or disapproving of religion.
U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Hammons v. Saffle (11/13/03 - No. 02-5009)
Opinion
Summary judgment to defendants is affirmed where prison policy prohibiting in-cell use and possession of prayer oils is rationally related to a legitimate penological interest and defendant is entitled to qualified immunity.
November 13, 2003 The court order from Alabama Court of the Judiciary removing Roy Moore from the office of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama can be assessed at: PDF File
November 18, 2003

A federal judge ruled Monday that a display of the Ten Commandments in Habersham County (GEORGIA) will have to be taken down, according to Frank Derrickson, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs in the case.

The commandments have been ordered to be removed. See the story here.

December 18, 2003 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Am. Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky V. Mccreary County (12/18/03 - No. 01-5935)
Opinion
District court did not err in granting a preliminary injunction against two county courthouses and one public school displaying framed copies of the Ten Commandments. The displays likely violate the Establishment Clause because their content, context, and evolution show defendants' predominant purpose to be religious, and their effect is an impermissible endorsement of religion.
January 8, 2004 U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Christian Coalition of Alabama v. Cole (01/08/04 - No. 03-11305)
Opinion PDF
Defendants cannot reasonably be expected to issue another advisory opinion enforcing certain Canons of Judicial Ethics that the US Supreme Court recently found to violate the First Amendment. The case is therefore moot.
January 15, 2004 State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division Third Judicial Department Am. Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky V. Mccreary County Decided and Entered: January 15, 2004 93831
Opinion PDF
Religious employees are entitled to more paid vacation than non-religious ones, a New York appellate court held last week. In Matter of Maine-Endwell Teachers' Association. v. Board of Education of Maine-Endwell Central School District (3d Dept 2004), a four to one majority upheld as constitutional a public school collective bargaining agreement which provided that "[t]eachers shall be allowed up to three (3) paid days for religious observance where as a requirement of his/her religion he observes his Sabbath or other holy day" but did not provide equal time off for non-observant employees. Story here.
January 21, 2004

School may not refuse to send religious fliers

By Anne Ryman, The Arizona Republic, Jan. 21, 2004 12:00 am

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Tuesday to hear an appeal from the Scottsdale Unified School District on circulating religious fliers and brochures in schools.

That means a lower-court ruling stands: If schools choose to distribute fliers from outside groups, they can't turn one down just because it's religious.

February 12, 2004 Group fails in bid to keep commandments in Idaho city park
By The Associated Press, 02.12.04.

BOISE, Idaho -- Saying the separation of church and state has served the nation well for more than 200 years, a federal judge yesterday rejected a request to keep a Ten Commandments monument in a city park.

"Undeniably, there will be many that disagree with today's conclusion," U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge wrote. "This decision, however, is not one dictated by the court but by the founding fathers who in their wisdom constructed a democracy that separated government from religion."

February 18, 2004 U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Aclu Nebraska Foundation V. City of Plattsmouth (02/18/04 - No. 02-2444)
Opinion PDF
Plaintiffs have standing to challenge defendant's display of a Ten Commandments monument in a local city park. The display violates the Establishment Clause; defendant's purpose in installing the monument was solely religious, and the primary effect of the display was to advance Judeo-Christian religion.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Halaim v. Ins (02/18/04 - No. 02-72311, 02-72312)
Opinion PDF
IJ did not err in holding that past hardships inflicted on Ukrainian aliens on the basis of their religion did not rise to the level of persecution. The Lautenberg Amendment, which lowers the burden of proof for certain categories of aliens applying for refugee status, does not apply to INA section 208 cases, and its inapplicability does not violate equal protection.
February 23, 2004 United States Supreme Court Locke V. Davey (No. 02-1315 (U.S.S.C. February 25, 2004))
Opinion
Washington State's exclusion of the pursuit of a devotional theology degree from its otherwise-inclusive scholarship aid program does not violate the Free Exercise Clause. The State's interest in not funding the pursuit of devotional degrees is substantial, and the exclusion of such funding places a relatively minor burden on program scholars.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Newdow Loses Bid to Ban Inaugural Prayer

David Kravets, Associated Press

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Michael Newdow did not suffer "a sufficiently concrete and specific injury" to pursue his latest claim.

In a eight-sentence order, a three-judge panel ruled that Newdow . . . did not suffer "a sufficiently concrete and specific injury." The court added that he could not revive his lawsuit in the lower courts "because amendment would be futile."

February 27, 2004 United States District Court for the District of Kansas O'Connor & Strobl v Washburn University (Civil Action No. 04-4001-GTV February 26, 2004)
Opinion PDF
Washburn University can display controversial sculpture
March 1, 2004 Supreme Court of California Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc. V. Superior Court of Sacramento County (Dep't of Managed Health Care) (03/01/04 - No. S099822)
Opinion PDF
The Women's Contraception Equity Act (WCEA), which requires employers who provide health insurance prescription coverage to include coverage for prescription contraceptives, does not violate provisions of the state and federal constitutions guaranteeing the free exercise of religion. Even if the WCEA substantially burdens a religious belief or practice, it serves the compelling state interest of eliminating gender discrimination. Plaintiff does not qualify for the Act's "religious employer" exemption because, as it concedes, its purpose is not the inculcation of religious values, it does not primarily hire and serve Catholics, and it does not qualify for federal tax exemption as a church, an integrated auxiliary of a church, a convention or association of churches, or a religious order.
March 8, 2004 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals San Jose Christian Coll. V. City of Morgan Hill (03/08/04 - No. 02-15693)
Opinion PDF
Denial of plaintiff's re-zoning application did not violate its right to the free exercise of religion, or otherwise run afoul of the Constitution; the zoning laws in question are neutral, of general application, and do not substantially burden plaintiff's free exercise. Summary judgment for defendants is affirmed.
California Appellate Districts California Statewide Cmtys. Dev. Auth. V. All Persons Interested in the Matter of the Validity of a Purchase Agreement (03/09/04 - No. C042944, C042947, C042948)
Opinion PDF
Plaintiff's proposed "conduit financing" agreements, providing for the issuance of tax-exempt bonds for the benefit of religious schools owned and operated by non-profit religious corporations, violate article XVI, section 5, of the California Constitution, which prohibits grants to or in aid of various religious entities.
March 22, 2004 U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Planned Parenthood of S. Carolina Inc. v. Rose (03/22/04 - No. 03-1118)
Opinion PDF
A statute authorizing specialty license plates imprinted with the words "Choose Life" amounts to impermissible viewpoint discrimination by the State, which has insulated itself from electoral accountability by disguising its own pro-life advocacy.
March 26, 2004 Opinion PDF Pledge plaintiff's challenge to Congress's chaplains rejected
By The Associated Press 03.26.04

WASHINGTON -- U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. on March 24 rejected Michael Newdow's claim that taxpayer-funded chaplains in Congress violate the First Amendment establishment-clause ban on government-sponsored religion

.
March 30, 2004 U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Goff V. Graves (03/30/04 - No. 02-1279, 02-1449)
PDF
Inmate-members of the Church of the New Song who are in lock-up at the time of the religion's "celebration of life" feast are not entitled to receive trays of food from the banquet. Evidence is insufficient to show that the Church instructs its adherents to hold such a feast; the ban was reasonably related to the legitimate penological interest of preserving institutional security.
April 5, 2004 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Chabad of S. Ohio & Congregation Lubavitch v. City of Cincinnati (04/05/04 - No. 02-4340)
Opinion
Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their First Amendment challenge to a city ordinance prohibiting non-government permit-based use of the main public square during the holiday season. Preliminary injunction forbidding enforcement of the ordinance is affirmed.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals US v. Corum (04/05/04 - No. 03-2497)
Opinion PDF
Convictions for intentionally obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by threat of force and for using a phone to threaten to injure members or damage or destroy synagogue property are affirmed. The Church Arson Prevention Act is constitutional, as it has a secular purpose, neither advances nor inhibits religion in its primary effect, and does not foster an excessive entanglement with religion.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Olsen v. Idaho State Bd. Of Med. (04/07/04 - No. 02-35796)
Opinion PDF
District court correctly dismissed plaintiff's complaint, which alleges that defendants' decisions and actions revoking and denying her physician assistant's license were motivated by their sentiments about her membership in the Mormon Church. Defendants are functionally comparable to judges and prosecutors and are accordingly entitled to absolute immunity for their quasi-judicial and quasi-prosecutorial acts.
April 21, 2004 U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Midrash Sephardi, Inc. v. Town of Surfside (04/21/04 - No. 03-13858)
Opinion PDF
Zoning ordinance provision excluding churches and synagogues from locations where private clubs and lodges are permitted violates the equal terms provision of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Summary judgment for the town is reversed and remanded.
April 26, 2004 United States Supreme Court Supreme Court Refuses VMI Prayer Case Action Preserves Freedom Of Religion At Publicly Funded Institution, Says Americans United
Article
April 30, 2004 Special Alabama Court Refuses To Reinstate 'Commandments Judge'
Friday April 30, 2004
Moore Sought To Overturn His Removal From State's Supreme Court
Article
May 7, 2004 U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Freeman v. Texas Dep't of Criminal Justice (05/07/04 - No. 03-10443)
Opinion PDF
Defendant's religious accommodations policy does not violate inmates' Free Exercise or Equal Protection rights; plaintiff's public rebuke of a prison chaplain is not afforded First Amendment protection. Summary judgment for defendants is affirmed.
May 11, 2004 U.S. District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals Am. Family Ass'n, Inc. v. FCC (05/11/04 - No. 00-1310, 00-1479, 01-1222)
Opinion PDF
The FCC's "point system" for allocating noncommercial educational broadcast licenses among competing applicants does not systematically discriminate against religious national broadcasting networks, and is not arbitrary and capricious.
May 13, 2004 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Pledge plaintiff loses bid to revive inaugural-prayer lawsuit
"Yesterday, I lost on my petitions for rehearing on the presidential inaugural chaplains case. They claim I don't have standing, which I believe is totally wrong. I now have to decide whether or not to petition the USSC." Michael Newdow in email to one of the co-owners of this web site.
June 7, 2004 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Doe v. Porter (06/07/04 - No. 02-5316/5823)
Opinion
A school board may not ceded its supervisory authority over classes to a college which requires its students and faculty to subscribe to a sectarian statement of belief. This would result in a violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Buono v. Norton (06/07/04 - No. 03-55032)
Opinion PDF
The presence of a religious symbol such as a cross on once public land that has been transferred to a private party may still violate the Establishment clause.
June 10, 2004 Contra Costa [California] Superior Court Michael Newdow, the Sacramento atheist at the center of the Pledge of Allegiance case, won a $1 million judgment Thursday in a libel suit against a minister. Article
June 14, 2004 United States Supreme Court Hibbs v. Winn, No. 02-1809 (U.S.S.C. June 14, 2004)
Opinion
Tax Injunction Act did not bar plaintiffs' challenge to a state tax law providing for credits for payments made to school tuition organizations that provided scholarships to private school students, which plaintiffs challenged as violating the Establishment Clause.
Elk Grove Unified School Dist. v. Newdow, No. 02-1624 (U.S.S.C. June 14, 2004)
Opinion
A father did not have standing to challenge the "under God" portion of the Pledge of Allegiance as violating the Establishment Clause on behalf of his daughter, because he lacked "next friend" status under California Law.
July 14, 2004 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Am. Civil Liberties Union v. Ashbrook (07/14/04 - No. 02-3667)
Opinion
In a challenge to the Establishment Clause, the Court found that defendant-judge's display of a framed poster of the Ten Commandments on the wall of his courtroom, next to a poster of the Bill of rights, violated the Establishment Clause.
July 22, 2004 U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Wynne v. Great Falls SC (07/22/04 - No. 03-2069)
Opinion PDF
Plaintiff successfully challenged defendant-town council from engaging in prayers that specifically invoke Jesus Christ during monthly council meetings, on grounds that defendant's conduct violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
July 23, 2004 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Mcdowell v. Calvin Presbyterian Church (07/23/04 - No. 02-35805)
Opinion PDF
Plaintiff may not file Title VII sexual harassment and retaliation claims against a church involving ministerial employment decisions, which are protected under the ministerial exception; however, she may succeed in these claims if she proves a hostile work environment and that she suffered from retaliatory harassment.
August 11, 2004 U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Pierce v. Sullivan West Central Sch. Dist. (08/11/04 - No. 03-9292)
Opinion PDF
Defendant-school's regulation which allows for "release time" from public schools for religious instruction does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
August 12, 2004 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Henderson v. Terhune (08/12/04 - No. 02-17224)
Opinion PDF
Plaintiff-Native American inmate unsuccessfully challenges defendant's hair length regulation, alleging it infringes his religious beliefs in violation of the First Amendment, where the regulation at issue is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests.
August 16, 2004 First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee

ACLU Applauds Appeals Court Decision Striking Down Florida School Voucher Program

Miami, FL -- Saying Governor Jeb Bush can no longer ignore the Florida Constitution and divert much-need tax dollars to private, sectarian schools, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida today hailed a court of appeal decision striking down as unconstitutional the state's school voucher program.

In a 2-1 decision issued today, the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee ruled that the Florida Opportunity Scholarship Program, which allows students in so-called failing schools to attend religious schools with the financial assistance of the state is an unconstitutional violation of the ban on state-funded religious education.

Article
August 19, 2004 U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals

ACLU Praises Appeals Court Decision Striking Down Pennsylvania's Mandatory Pledge of Allegiance Law

Philadelphia -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania today praised an appeals court decision striking down a Pennsylvania law requiring private and public school students to begin each school day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or singing the national anthem. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that law violated the First Amendment rights of students and private schools

Article
August 20, 2004 U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Blackhawk v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (08/20/04 - No. 02-3947, 02-4158)
Opinion PDF
Defendant may not enforce a permit fee provision against plaintiff, who possesses bears for Native American religious purposes, on the ground that the current waiver policy violates his rights to the free exercise of religion.
August 23, 2004 U. S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Won't Reconsider Pledge of Allegiance

Supreme Court Won't Reconsider Pledge of Allegiance; Associated Press; August 23, 2004

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/orders/courtorders/082304pzr.pdf
(Order List: 542 U.S.)
Monday, August 23, 2004 Rehearings Denied
The petitions for rehearing are denied. 02-1624 Elk Grove Unified Sch. Dist. v. Newdow, Michael A., et Al. The petition for rehearing is denied. Justice Scalia took no part in the consideration or decision of this petition.

August 24, 2004 U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Warnock v. Archer (08/24/04 - No. 02-3322, 03-1422)
Opinion PDF
The prayers at a school district's mandatory meetings and in-service training impermissibly and unconstitutionally endorsed religion in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
September 1, 2004 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals The United Church of Chirst v. Gateway Economic Development Corp. (09/01/04 - No. 01-3434)
Opinion
Plaintiff-protester's successfully appeal the denial of a requested injunction to gather on defendant-professional sports complex's property where the sidewalk of defendant is declared a public forum and can only be saddled with content-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions that are narrowly tailored to further a significant government interest.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Cholla Ready Mix, Inc. v. Mendez (09/01/04 - No. 03-15423)
Opinion PDF
The Establishment Clause does not bar the government from protecting an historically and culturally important site simply because the site's importance derives at least in part from its sacredness to certain groups.
September 2, 2004 Supreme Court of Florida Warner v. City of Boca Raton (09/02/04 - No. SC01-2206)
Opinion PDF
The Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act (FRFRA) expands the scope of religious protection beyond the conduct considered protected by cases from the United States Supreme Court, and, under the FRFRA, any law that substantially burdens the free exercise of religion is subject to the strict scrutiny standard.
September 3, 2004 U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Wiggs v. Sioux Falls School (09/03/04 - No. 03-2956, 03-3107)
Opinion PDF
Plaintiff-teacher's participation in after-school activities held by a Christian club did not justify defendant-school district's ban on her participation where plaintiff's association with the club constituted private speech and did not put school at risk of violating the Establishment Clause.
October 6, 2004 U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Modrovich v. Allegheny County (10/06/04 - No. 03-3571)
Opinion PDF
The display of a plaque containing the text of the Ten Commandments on the Allegheny County Courthouse does not constitute an endorsement of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
October 15, 2004 U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Child Evangelism v. Stafford T'Ship School Dist. (10/15/04 - No. 03-1101)
Opinion PDF
Plaintiff's successfully asserts a First Amendment claim with respect to the distribution of its materials where defendant-school has engaged in a practice of viewpoint discrimination that cannot be justified as an effort to avoid an Establishment Clause violation.
November 16, 2004 U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Dehart v. Horn (11/16/04 - No. 03-4250)
Opinion PDF
Dismissal of plaintiff-prisoner's claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, alleging a failure to provide him with a diet comporting with his Buddhist belief, is reversed where plaintiff has satisfied the exhaustion requirement of 42 U.S.C. section 1997e(a) and may proceed with his claim.
December 1. 2004 U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Cloutier v. Costco Corp. (12/01/04 - No. 04-1475 )
Opinion
PPlaintiff's claim, alleging religious discrimination by defendant-employer, is dismissed where defendant has no duty to accommodate plaintiff since it could not do so without undue hardship.
U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Dehart v. Horn (11/30/04 - No. 03-4250)
Opinion PDF
Dismissal of plaintiff-inmate's claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, alleging that refusal to provide him with a diet comporting with his Buddhist beliefs violated his constitutional rights, is reversed where plaintiff satisfied the exhaustion requirement of 42 U.S.C. section 1997e(a).
U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Benning v. State of Georgia (12/02/04 - No. 04-10979, 04-11044)
Opinion PDF
Section 3 of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which requires state prisons that receive federal funds to refrain from burdening the religious exercise of prisoners, was validly enacted under the Spending Clause and does not violate either the Establishment Clause or the Tenth Amendment.
December 8, 2004 U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Adkins v. Kaspar (12/08/04 - No. 03-40028)

Opinion PDF
Plaintiff-prisoner's complaint, alleging that he has not been allowed particular days of rest and worship required by his faith, is dismissed where defendants have not denied plaintiff a reasonable opportunity to exercise his religion.
December 29, 2004 U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Searles v. Dechant (12/29/04 - No. 03-3347)
Opinion
Plaintiff-inmates's civil rights complaint, alleging that defendants violated his right to free exercise of his religion, is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
January 3, 2005 U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Mercier v. Fraternal Order of Eagles (01/03/05 - No. 04-1321, 04-1524)

Opinion PDF
The sale of a monument of the Ten Commandments in a public park back to the group that had donated the Monument to the City is constitutionally appropriate and does not violate the Establishment Clause.
January 13, 2005 Federal District Court, Marietta, GA

Judge's Order to Remove Evolution Stickers from Textbooks by Doug Gross, Associated Press

Judge's order to remove evolution stickers from textbooks gets cheers from scientists, jeers from conservatives

January 14, 2005 United States District Court for the District of Columbia Newdow v. Bush, President of the United States, et al., (01/14/05 - 04-2208 (JDB))

Opinion PDF
Judge Denies Bid to Block Inaugural Prayer By Sam Hananel, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON - An atheist who tried to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance lost a bid Friday to bar the saying of a Christian prayer at President Bush's inauguration.
February 1, 2005 U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Sts. Constantine V. New Berlin (02/01/05 - No. 04-2326)

Opinion PDF
Under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, if a land-use decision imposes a substantial burden on religious exercise, and the decision maker cannot justify it, the inference arises that hostility to religion influenced the decision.
March 8, 2005 U.S. District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals Am. Jewish Congress V. Corp. For Nat'l and Cmty. Serv. (03/08/05 - No. 04-5317)

Opinion PDF
The government does not promote religion in violation of the Establishment Clause when it reimburses all grantees, religious and secular, for a portion of the costs they incur in complying with the requirements of the AmeriCorps Education Awards Program.
March 25, 2005 U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Brooks v. Elkhart County (03/25/05 - No. 04-2075)

Opinion PDF
The display of the Ten Commandments in defendant - County's Administration Building is constitutional under the First Amendment where defendant's stated purposes -- to educate in the history of American law and politics and provide moral uplift -- are secular.
April 4, 2005 California Appellate Districts Knight v. Super. Ct. of Sacramento County (04/04/05 - No. C048378.PDF)

Opinion PDF
The Legislature's enactment of the domestic partner act, which grants registered domestic partners the same rights, protections and benefits that are given to spouses, did not violate the California Constitution.
April 14, 2005 U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Simpson v. Chesterfield County Bd. of Supervisors (04/14/05 - No. 04-1045)

Opinion PDF
A local government's policy under which its public meetings include a non-sectarian invocation does not violate the Establishment Clause and fits within the Supreme Court's requirements for legislative prayer.
May 13, 2005 U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Lambeth v. Bd. of Comm'r (05/13/05 - No. 04-1753)

Opinion PDF
Plaintiffs' complaint, alleging that defendant violated the Establishment Clause when it authorized the phrase "In God We Trust" to be inscribed on its Government Center building, is dismissed for failure to claim upon which relief can be granted.
May 31, 2005 U S Supreme Court Cutter v. Wilkinson (No. 03-9877 (U.S.S.C. May 31, 2005))
Opinion
Section 3 of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, on its face, qualifies as a permissible accommodation that is not barred by the Establishment Clause.
June 27, 2005 U S Supreme Court McCreary County v. ACLU (No. 03-1693 (U.S.S.C. June 27, 2005))
Opinion
A county's manifest objective may be dispositive for determining whether a display of the Ten Commandments in courthouses violates the Establishment Clause.
Van Orden v. Perry (No. 03-1500 (U.S.S.C. June 27, 2005))
Opinion
The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment allows the display of a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments on the Texas State Capitol grounds.
July 5 - 8, 2005 U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Osediacz v. City of Cranston (07/06/05 - No. 04-2673)
Opinion
Plaintiff's challenge to defendant-City's policy, which allowed private parties to erect holiday displays on public property, is dismissed where plaintiff lacks standing under the Free Speech Clause.
U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals White Tail Park, Inc. v. Stroube (07/05/05 - No. 04-2002)
Opinion PDF
The district court erred when it dismissed plaintiff's First Amendment claim, challenging a Virginia law which requires a parent or guardian to accompany any juvenile who attends a nudist summer camp, for lack of standing.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Carhart v. Gonzales (07/08/05 - No. 04-3379)
Opinion PDF
The federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is unconstitutional where it does not contain a health exception.
July 14, 2005 U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Neal v. Lewis (07/14/05 - No. 04-3324)
Opinion
The district court properly granted summary judgment against plaintiff's claims that prison officials interfered with his religious observances in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
July 25, 2005 California Appellate Districts Roman Catholic Archbishop v. Super. Ct. of L.A. (07/25/05 - No. B177852)
Opinion PDF
In a proceeding arising from allegations that Roman Catholic priests sexually assaulted children, the Constitutional right to freedom of religion does not bar disclosure of documents subpoenaed from the Archdiocese.
July 26 - 29, 2005 U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Maestas v. Segura (07/26/05 - No. 04-2028)
Opinion
In an employment retaliation suit, summary judgment in favor of defendant-employer is affirmed where no reasonable jury could find that plaintiffs' speech was a substantial motivating factor in defendant's decision to transfer them.
Yanaki v. Iomed, Inc. (07/27/05 - No. 04-4061)

Opinion
Dismissal of plaintiffs' civil rights suit under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 is affirmed where they have failed to allege a deprivation of rights committed under color of state law.
O'Connor v. Washburn Univ. (07/29/05 - No. 04-3103)

Opinion
A statue entitled Holier Than Thou, which depicts the head and upper torso of a Roman Catholic bishop, placed on a university campus does not constitute an unconstitutional endorsement of an anti-Catholic message.
August 2, 2005 U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Society of Separationists v. Pleasant Grove City (08/02/05 - No. 04-4136)
Opinion
In a suit involving the continued placement of a Ten Commandments monument on a public park, the trial court improperly determined that the plaintiffs' pleadings failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
August 10, 2005 U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Myers v. Loudoun County Pub. Sch. (08/10/05 - No. 03-1364)
Opinion PDF
A Virginia statue which provides for daily, voluntary recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in Virginia's public schools does not violate the Establishment Clause where the Pledge is not a religious exercise and does not threaten an establishment of religion.
August 19, 2005 U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Kaufman v. McCaughtry (08/19/05 - No. 04-1914)
Opinion PDF
Dismissal of plaintiff's Establishment Clause claim, alleging that defendants infringed on his right to practice his religion when they refused to allow him to create an inmate study group to discuss atheism, is vacated where defendants' actions do not have a secular purpose.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ACLU v. City of Plattsmouth (08/19/05 - No. 02-2444)
Opinion PDF
Defendant-City's monument, inscribed with a nonsectarian version of the Ten Commandments, does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
August 20, 2005 California Appellate Districts Valov v. Dep't of Motor Vehicles (09/20/05 - No. B175665)
Opinion PDF
The Department of Motor Vehicles did not violate plaintiff's right to the free exercise of religion when it refused to exempt him from a state law which required driver's licenses to contain an engraved picture of the licensee for the purposes of identification.
September 4, 2005 U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Utah Gospel Mission v. Salt Lake City Corp. (10/04/05 - No. 04-4113)
Opinion
Defendant-City's sale of an easement, which eliminated any right of public access to parts of the downtown area, did not violate the First Amendment where it did not advance or endorse religion since the sale was in exchange for adequate consideration.
September 26, 2005 U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Grace United Methodist Church v. City of Cheyenne (10/26/05 - No. 03-8060)
Opinion
In a lawsuit brought by a church, alleging that defendant-City's actions in denying it a license to operate a daycare in a residential zone violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a jury properly found against the church since its operation of the daycare was not a sincere exercise of religion.
December 2, 2005 California Appellate Districts N. Coast Women's Care Med. Group v. Superior Court (12/02/05 - No. D045438)
Opinion PDF
Summary adjudication for plaintiff on an affirmative defense to a civil rights claim involving defendants' refusal to perform intrauterine insemination (IUI) is reversed where evidence presented by defendants raised a triable issue of fact as to whether the basis for defendants' religiously-based refusal to perform IUI was plaintiff's marital status.
December 20, 2005 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Am. Civil Liberties Union v. Mercer County (12/20/05 - No. 03-5142)
Opinion PDF
Summary judgment in favor of county defendant in a First Amendment Establishment Clause challenge to its courthouse display containing the Ten Commandments is affirmed where the predominant purpose of the display is secular and the display does not endorse religion.
December 29,2005 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Moranski v. Gen. Motors Corp. (12/29/05 - No. 05-1803)
Opinion PDF
Dismissal of plaintiff's Title VII case is affirmed where employer defendant's refusal to confer "Affinity Group" status to plaintiff's proposed Christian-themed group in a sponsored diversity initiative was not discriminatory since defendant's program treated all groups with religious positions equally by denying them such status.
January 5, 2006 Florida Supreme Court

Florida Supreme Court declares vouchers unconstitutional by Bill Kaczor, Associated Press

Tallahassee, Fl. - The Florida Supreme Court threw out the state's voucher system that allows some children to attend private schools at taxpayer expense, saying Thursday that it violates the state constitution's requirement of a uniform system of free public schools.

For a copy of today's decision, go to: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2006/sc04-2323.pdf or http://www.aclu.org/FilesPDFs/bush%20v.%20holmes.pdf

January 18, 2006 U. S. Supreme Court Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of N. New England (01/18/06 - No. 041144)
Opinion
A permanent injunction on enforcement of an abortion law requiring written parental notification prior to performance of an abortion on a pregnant minor is vacated and remanded for reconsideration of a more narrow remedy.
January 31, 2006 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Planned Parenthood v. Gonzales (01/31/06 - No. 04-16621)
Opinion PDF
The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 is unconstitutional since it: 1) lacks the health exception required of all abortion regulations in the absence of a medical consensus, that the prohibited procedure is never necessary to preserve women's health; 2) imposes an undue burden on a woman's right to choose a previability abortion; and 3) is impermissibly vague. The appropriate remedy for the serious constitutional flaws in the Act is enjoining the enforcement of the statute in its entirety.
February 2, 2006 U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Skoros v. City of New York (02/02/06 - No. 04-1229)
Opinion PDF
New York City's holiday display policy for its public schools, both on its face and as applied by the defendants, comports with the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment and does not violate a parent's right to control the religious upbringing and education of her children.
February 21 - 24, 2006 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Gathright v. City of Portland (02/24/06 - No. 04-35402, 05-35506)
Opinion PDF
A permanent injunction against a municipality is vacated where, although the district court properly concluded that defendant infringed plaintiff's First Amendment right to preach by ejecting him from government property, a remand for reconsideration of the injunction was warranted since defendant had repealed and replaced a challenged ordinance.
Prete v. Bradbury (02/22/06 - No. 04-35285)
Opinion PDF
Oregon Ballot Measure 26's prohibition of payment to electoral petition signature gatherers on a piece-work or per signature basis did not violate the First Amendment, as applied, where plaintiffs failed to prove that the district court erred in determining that the measure did not severely burden their First Amendment rights, and defendant established that the measure serves an important regulatory interest.
U S Supreme Court Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal No. 041084 (U.S.S.C. February 21, 2006)
Opinion
Grant of a preliminary injunction under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in favor of plaintiff, a church, against the government involving the church's use for communion of a tea containing a hallucinogen regulated by the Controlled Substances Act, is affirmed where there was no error in a determination that the government failed to demonstrate, at the preliminary injunction stage, a compelling interest in barring the church's sacramental use of the tea.
March 1, 2006 U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Hinrichs v. Bosma (03/01/06 - No. 05-4604, 05-4781)
Opinion PDF
Denial of defendant's motion for a stay of injunction pending appeal in an Establishment Clause suit against the Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives regarding opening prayers is affirmed where the Speaker was unable to demonstrate either a likelihood of success on the merits or an irreparable injury resulting from the injunction.
Borzych v. Frank (03/02/06 - No. 05-3907)
Opinion PDF
Denial of prisoner's claims in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action arising out of a ban on religious literature that advocated racial violence is affirmed where the prison system's ban was the least restrictive means to promote a compelling state safety interest, and the overbreadth of the internal prison regulation was relatively insubstantial.
March 14, 2006 California Appellate Districts N. Coast Women's Care Med. Group, Inc. v. The Superior Court of San Diego County (03/14/06 - No. D045438)
Opinion PDF
Summary adjudication for plaintiff on a constitutional free exercise of religion affirmative defense is vacated in an Unruh Act action against a medical group and physicians based on defendants' refusal to perform intrauterine insemination on plaintiff allegedly because of her sexual orientation.
March 17, 2006 U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Am. Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee v. Bredesen (03/17/06 - No. 04-6393)
Opinion PDF
A government-crafted message disseminated by private volunteers does not create a "forum" for speech that must be viewpoint neutral, at least with respect to a state-produced specialty license plate with a "Choose Life" logotype. A judgment invalidating a law authorizing issuance of a specialty license plate with a "Choose Life" logotype on First Amendment grounds is reversed.
March 28, 2006 U.S. District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals Webman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons (03/28/06 - No. 05-5031)
Opinion PDF
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) does not waive the federal government's sovereign immunity for damages.
April 4, 2006 U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Deegan v. City of Ithaca (04/06/06 - No. 04-4708)
Opinion PDF
Grant of summary judgment for defendants is reversed and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of plaintiff who alleged that his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when he was prevented, under purported authority of municipal noise ordinances, from preaching in Ithaca Commons.
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tomic v. Catholic Diocese of Peoria (04/04/06 - No. 04-4219)
Opinion PDF
Dismissal of an age discrimination case because of the rule against federal jurisdiction over internal affairs of religious associations is affirmed where plaintiff's position involved a significant religious dimension and where the Diocese's statement that it was an equal opportunity employer did not affect the jurisdictional analysis.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Warnock v. Archer (04/04/06 - No. 05-1626, 05-1713)
Opinion PDF
An order holding defendants, a school district and its employees and officials, in contempt of an injunction prohibiting them from orchestrating or supervising prayers at ceremonies is affirmed where the finding of contempt was justified, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to impose monetary sanctions.
April 11 - 13, 2006 U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Lenz v. Washington (04/11/06 - No. 05-16)
Opinion PDF
Denial of habeas corpus petition involving capital murder conviction and death sentence is affirmed over claims of 1) constitutional violations arising out of defendant's state trial; 2) denial of effective representation based on the location and conditions of his incarceration; 3) ineffective assistance of counsel at sentencing; 4) improper exclusion of evidence at sentencing; and 5) juror use of a Bible during sentencing deliberations.
U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Planned Parenthood v. Taft (04/13/06 - No. 04-4371)
Opinion PDF
A preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of an Ohio statute prohibiting the off-label use of an abortion drug is vacated in part insofar as it prohibits constitutional applications of the law where, although the district court erred in holding that every state which regulates abortion must include a health or life exception, there was no abuse of discretion in a finding that plaintiffs established a strong likelihood of succeeding on the merits of their challenge. (Amended opinion)
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Laskowski v. Spellings (04/13/06 - No. 05-2749)
Opinion PDF
Dismissal as moot of a taxpayer's suit alleging violation of the Establishment Clause by the Department of Education is reversed and remanded for discussion of the merits where the fact that injunctive relief was no longer possible did not foreclose on the possibility of restitutionary relief.

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