Establishment Clause

News & Analysis as of

Recent Sixth Circuit Ruling Impacts Prayer at Public Meetings

If you are a Jackson County resident, your next local Board of Commissioners' meetings might look a little different than what you are used to. On February 15, 2017, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that county...more

RLUIPA Implications of Trump’s Immigration Executive Order

Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a district court’s issuance of a temporary restraining order prohibiting the enforcement of Executive Order 13769 – “Protecting The Nation From...more

9th Circuit Refuses to Stay Nationwide Injunction Against Enforcement of Trump Immigration Order While Government Appeals

On February 9, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court’s Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting nationwide enforcement of key portions of the immigration Executive Order issued on...more

Religious Institutions Update: February 2017

Timely Topics - A draft executive order of President Donald Trump relating to religious freedom proposes several material changes to federal law. First, it would require the executive branches to recognize a broad scope...more

Third Circuit Upholds District Court Decision in Pennsylvania Baptist Church Sign Case

Recently, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals entered an order upholding the district court’s decision in the case of Tearpock-Martini v. Shickshinny Borough, which we reported on last summer. The case involved an...more

Not All Faith-Based Communications Are Protected By The Clergy-Penitent Privilege

The clergy-penitent privilege (also known as the clergy privilege, confessional privilege, priest–penitent privilege, clergyman–communicant privilege, and/or ecclesiastical privilege) is a recognized form of privileged...more

Rocky Mountain Sign Law Blog: Installation of Ten Commandments On City Hall Lawn is Government Speech, Violates First Amendment

Earlier this month, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Bloomfield, New Mexico’s installation of a Ten Commandments monument on the lawn in front of city hall violated the Establishment Clause of the First...more

Company Practices "Onionhead" – Employees Cry Reverse Religious Discrimination

A New York federal court recently sided with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) as to whether a company’s internal conflict-resolution program was religious in nature. Because the program—called...more

NLRB Expands Jurisdiction in Church-Operated Schools, Distinguishing Between "Religious" and "Secular" Instruction in Faculty...

In two recent cases, the National Labor Relations Board distinguished between faculty members providing secular instruction and those providing religious instruction, in concluding that only those providing religious...more

RLUIPA Defense/Rocky Mountain Sign Law Joint Blog Post: Pennsylvania Borough’s Church Directional Signs Did Not Violate the...

Late last month, a federal district court in Pennsylvania ruled that directional signs to a church, which contained images of a cross and bible, did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The...more

Minister or Not? Gay Bias Case Turns on Employee’s Role

Seyfarth Synopsis: A federal judge has allowed a discrimination lawsuit to proceed against the Archdiocese of Chicago. The plaintiff alleges that his engagement to another man resulted in his termination. The church sought...more

Religious Institutions Update: August 2016

When was the last time your organization reviewed your insurance policies? Not all policies are equal. Many religious organizations are underinsured. Most should have general liability, property, professional liability,...more

California’s No Aid Clause and Religious Endorsement: Davies v. County of Los Angeles

On April 6, 2016, several local religious leaders and scholars obtained a permanent injunction against the County of Los Angeles, which had approved a measure in 2014 altering the official County Seal to include a Christian...more

Down Goes HB 1523: Judge Reeves Enjoins Mississippi from Enacting Controversial Religious Freedom Law

Late Thursday last night, Judge Carlton Reeves, United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, entered a 60-page order striking down HB 1523, Mississippi’s controversial “Protecting Freedom of...more

Nativity Scenes & Starbucks Coffee Cups Spark Holiday Controversy Across Nation

It wouldn’t be the holidays without controversial nativity scenes igniting lawsuits across the country. Generally, these lawsuits are brought under the Establishment Clause, alleging that the government illegally endorses...more

CAS Legal Mailbag Question of the Week – 10/16/15

At my school, we like to treat everyone like family. Over the years, we have been more than happy to help publicize various events and causes for members of our school “family.” Whenever a parent or other community member has...more

Religious Institutions: October 2015

Timely Topics - A non-compete clause, covenant not to compete or restrictive covenant is a contract provision under which one party agrees not to enter into or start a similar profession, trade or business in competition...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

Below are news items from the past week involving local government, religion, and land use that have caught our attention. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York has issued a Memorandum and...more

Religious Institutions: September 2015

Respondeat superior (literally, "let the master answer" in Latin) is a doctrine that applies when an employer or principal has the ability and authority to direct and control the pertinent acts of the employee. Put otherwise,...more

Arkansas Senate Opens the Door; Baphomet Walks In

The Arkansas Senate, in passing Bill no. 939 (now Act 1231), authorized the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol to purportedly “help the people of the United States and of...more

Jesus is Just Alright, Holds the Ninth Circuit

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed a lower court’s decision ruling that a twelve foot statute of Jesus near Montana’s Big Mountain does not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The statue, known as “Big Mountain...more

RLUIPA Round-up

Unfortunately it’s time to say goodbye to the last true week of summer. But RLUIPA Defense is happy to say hello to fall with another edition of the Round-Up! - According to the San Francisco Chronicle, despite an...more

Supplement — Curtin’s California Land Use

This Supplement is intended for use in conjunction with Curtin’s California Land Use & Planning Law, Thirty-Fourth Edition (2014), authored by Perkins Coie attorneys Cecily Talbert Barclay and Matthew S. Gray. In lieu of...more

Mother & Daughter’s Challenge to Ten Commandments Monument Dismissed for Lack of Standing

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania dismissed an Establishment Clause challenge to a Ten Commandments monument located on the lawn outside a local high school, in Freedom From Religion Foundation...more

Thou Shalt Not Sue: The Ecclesiastical Abstention Doctrine in Tennessee

Like most commercial litigators, I do not often find myself dealing with questions of religion or divine providence during work hours. However, that is exactly where I found myself last Easter (ironically enough), working...more

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