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.
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.
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.
In this case—actually, two consolidated cases—taxpayers in New York challenged a local executive order and a state policy that recognized out-of-state same-sex marriages. At the time, same-sex marriages were not permitted under New York law. Although the taxpayer plaintiffs lost in the lower courts they appealed to the Court of Appeals.
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.
Whether the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, which affords custody and visitation orders full faith and credit, or the Defense of Marriage Act, which does not require full faith and credit be afforded to rights arising from same-sex relationships treated as marriage, controls when Alabama is asked to give full faith and credit to California parentage and custody rights arising from a California court order insofar as Alabama‟s laws expressly declare that any “union replicating marriage of or between persons of the same sex . . . in any other jurisdiction shall be considered and treated in all respects as having no legal force or effect” in Alabama.
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.