A Minnesota videographer challenged state statute that arguably prohibited them from refusing to provide video service for same-sex marriages when they provided such services for opposite-sex marriages.
In this case, citizens of Bloomfield, New Mexico, sued their city, claiming that a display of a Ten Commandments monument violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Despite the facts that the display was located in an area in which the city had invited citizens to display other monuments and that a plague stated that the display was private speech, not government speech, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that the monument was, in fact, government speech, and that it did violate the Establishment Clause. The city filed a petition asking the Supreme Court of the United States to review the case.
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.
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.
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.
A Christian sorority and a Christian fraternity at San Diego State University were denied official status because they required members to profess faith in Christ. The district court ruled against the sorority and fraternity. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed that the university’s general non-discrimination policy was generally constitutional, but that it may have been applied against these groups in an unconstitutional manner. The Ninth Circuit sent the case back to the district court.
What is at issue is whether the letter and spirit of Monell permit certain kinds of relief to be granted against municipal defendants without a finding of Monell liability.
A church in Orlando, Florida, had a ministry of holding church services for and of feeding the homeless in a public park. After residents in the surrounding neighborhood complained, Orlando passed an ordinance specifically aimed at making the church’s services impossible. The church sued, arguing the ordinance violated its First Amendment rights of free speech, free exercise of religion, and free assembly; and the Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Unfortunately, the district court and the court of appeals ruled against the church.
The Association of Christian Schools International, one of its member schools, and 5 of that school’s students sued the University of California officials who are responsible for determining whether high school courses qualify as “college preparatory” courses. These officials had denied that status to 38 course by Christian schools. Unfortunately, the district court and the court of appeals ruled against the plaintiffs.