Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church v. Unsworth

Montana’s commissioner of political practices ruled that Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church violated election law by participating in a Focus on the Family simulcast and allowing petitions in support of a pro-marriage ballot initiative to be circulated on church premises. 

Lefemine v. Wideman

This case concerns the award of attorney’s fees after a local sheriff’s office violated the First Amendment rights of free exercise, free speech, and free assembly of pro-life protesters.

Havard v. County of Wayne

After an inmate gave birth in jail, the baby suffered severe birth defects as the result of neglect and indifference by jail personnel. The inmate mother sued on behalf of her daughter. The defendant sought to avoid liability by arguing that the baby had not been a “person” during the delivery process.

Sherman v. Koch

The state of Illinois amended its Moment of Silence law, changing it from optional to mandatory for public schools to observe a moment of silence.  The parent of a student sued, alleging the new statute violated the Establishment Clause. The federal district agreed and ruled in the parent’s favor.  The defendants—a school district and the state Superintendent of Education appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Salazar v. Buono

A retired U.S. Park Service employee sued, alleging a cross erected in the Mojave Desert, in honor of World War I veterans, violated the Establishment Clause. The lower courts ruled in favor of the employee. However, the Supreme Court held that those courts had not conducted the proper analysis, and reversed the decision of the court of appeals. The case was sent back to the district court for further proceedings.

Croft v. Govenor of Texas

Parents of public school children sued, alleging the Texas Moment of Silence law violated the Establishment Clause because it mentioned that children could silently pray among other choices. Both the district court and the court of appeals ruled against the parents and upheld the law.

Roach v. Stouffer

Pro-life Missouri challenged the denial of its request for a specialty plate. The district court and court of appeals ruled that that denial was unconstitutional.

Brown v. City of Pittsburgh

The city of Pittsburgh passed a ordinance that created both a 15-foot buffer zone and a 100-foot bubble zone around hospitals and abortion clinics. A pro-life protester challenged the ordinance under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and Pennsylvania’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In a complicated ruling, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that the combination of the two zones was unconstitutional, while ruling against the protester on some other arguments.

Hankins v. New York Annual Conference

When a Methodist minister turned 70 and was forced to retire, he sued the NY Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church for age discrimination. The issue here is that the “ministerial exception” protects churches from government interference.

In re: Rachel L.

The California Legislature has the duty under Article IX, section 1 under the California Constitution to use “all suitable means” to promote education “which is essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people.” However, trampling a parent’s Free Exercise Rights is not a suitable means. Thus to interpret the statute in such a way as to severely restrict Christian parents’ rights to home-school their children violates the constitutional mandate.

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