News & Analysis as of

Free Exercise Clause

Nine Members Again, the Supreme Court Takes On Uneasy Relationship Between Church and State

by Baker Donelson on

On June 26, 2017, the last day of its session, the Supreme Court issued what is likely to be one of its most significant rulings this year – and possibly for years to come – in the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Forbids Exclusion of Churches from State Grant Program

by Hogan Lovells on

On June 26, 2017, in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, the U.S. Supreme Court held unconstitutional under the Free Exercise Clause Missouri’s refusal to award a playground resurfacing grant to a church. The...more

Supreme Court: Public Benefit Programs Cannot Exclude Churches Solely Because They Are Religious

by Holland & Knight LLP on

In Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, No. 15-577 (June 26, 2017), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that excluding a church from a public benefit program for which it is otherwise qualified violates the Free...more

Tax-Exempt Financing of Churches, Parochial Schools and Other Sectarian Institutions After Trinity Lutheran Church: Permitted? ...

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 opinion in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, precluding states from discriminating against churches in at least some state financing programs, raises anew the question of...more

The Supreme Court - June 26, 2017

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

The Supreme Court of the United States issued decisions in five cases today: California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. ANZ Securities, Inc., No. 16-373: Lehman Brothers’ collapse led to a number of securities...more

Supreme Court Decides Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, No. 15-577

by Faegre Baker Daniels on

On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, holding that, when the government offers a public benefit to organizations that meet specified criteria, the Free Exercise...more

Supreme Court 2016-17 Recap

The politics surrounding the appointment of a new justice to the U.S. Supreme Court dominated the news cycle during the 2016-17 term, but the Court’s decisions themselves have been far from controversial. As the term draws to...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

What do tiny homes, marijuana, a sex club, the Satanic Temple, and yoga have in common? They each make an appearance in this installment of the RLUIPA Round-Up!...more

City of Bayonne, New Jersey Sued Over Denial of Application to Build a Mosque

Last month, Bayonne Muslims, a New Jersey not-for-profit religious congregation, sued the City of Bayonne, New Jersey (the “City”), challenging the City’s denial of certain variances needed to construct a mosque. ...more

Religious Institutions Update: June 2017

by Holland & Knight LLP on

Timely Topics - The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, No. 15-577. The lawsuit concerns whether the daycare operated by a Missouri church may qualify...more

New Jersey Township’s Recently Enacted Ordinances Alleged to Violate RLUIPA

Earlier this month, Agudath Israel of America Inc. (“Agudath Israel”) sued the Township of Jackson, New Jersey (“Jackson”), challenging Jackson’s recently-enacted land use ordinances restricting schools from all but three...more

Jewish School’s RLUIPA Claims Are Ripe For Adjudication

A federal court in the District of New Jersey has determined that claims asserted by the Congregation Kollel, Inc. (“Congregation”) against the Township of Howell, New Jersey (“Township”), based on the allegedly improper...more

Church’s RLUIPA Claim Against an Illinois City is “Likely to Succeed”

The District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the City of Markham from requiring the Original Bible Church of Illinois to obtain conditional use approval to use property...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

Signs 4 JC Shown the Light by NH District Court

Thou shall have the right to an electronic sign? Apparently not. Just over a year ago, Hillside Baptist Church and Signs for Jesus (together, Plaintiffs or Church) filed a complaint in the District Court for New Hampshire,...more

Religious Institutions Update: February 2017

by Holland & Knight LLP on

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

"2016-17 Supreme Court Update"

In a season of political surprises, the eight-member U.S. Supreme Court has stirred no controversy with its decisions so far this term. The handful of opinions the Court released in the fall were unanimous and, for the most...more

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

by Reminger Co., LPA on

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

Facial RLUIPA Claims Against Mobile, AL Dismissed

Earlier this year, the Thai Meditation Association of Alabama and several individual plaintiffs (“the Center”) filed suit against the City of Mobile, Alabama (“the City”), alleging that the denial of its application to...more

$1.7 Million Settlement with DOJ and CAIR-MI

In 2011, Pittsfield Charter Township denied, allegedly without deliberation, Michigan Islamic Academy’s (“MIA”) application to rezone a 26 acre parcel (the “Property”) to allow the development of a pre-K through grade 12...more

Religious Institutions Update: October 2016

by Holland & Knight LLP on

Timely Topics - The final rule implementing Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on May...more

RLUIPA Case of the Year? Minnesota Municipality Uses RLUIPA’s Safe Harbor Provision to Avoid Liability

In an important decision for municipalities across the country, a federal court in Minnesota has recently ruled that actions taken under RLUIPA’s “safe harbor” provision absolved a local government of possible RLUIPA...more

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

by Littler on

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

Buddhist Meditation Center Sues Mobile, AL

The Thai Meditation Association of Alabama and several individual plaintiffs (the “Center”) have filed suit against the City of Mobile, Alabama, its  Planning Commission, and City Council (“Mobile”) after the Center was...more

Hundreds Erupt in Elation After Sterling Heights Mosque Denial

In the RLUIPA Round-Up post, we noted that the City of Sterling Heights, Michigan, is facing a federal lawsuit following its denial of the American Islamic Community Center’s (Center) zoning application to build a 20,500...more

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