News & Analysis as of

District Court Refuses to Certify Class of “Non-Liturgical” Protestant Navy Chaplains

Given the rich diversity and array of religions, and the First Amendment prohibitions both on the establishment of religion and impeding the free exercise of religion, the appointment and promotion of chaplains in the...more

Supreme Court Upholds Town’s Practice of Opening Board Meetings with Prayer

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a New York town’s practice of opening town board meetings with prayer did not violate the First Amendment. The decision provides guidance to school boards and other public bodies...more

Federal Court Says New York City Schools Can Prohibit “Religious Worship” In School Facilities

As reported in the New York Times, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a school district could prohibit outside community groups from using school facilities for “religious services” without violating the...more

Religious Institutions - March 2014

Under state and federal law, "whistleblowers" are a protected class and a broader category of persons than intuitively you might guess. When we imagine the quintessential whistleblower, the individual is usually someone who...more

Supreme Court to Review Constitutionality of Employer Contraception Mandate

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review another challenge to a portion of the Affordable Care Act. Hobby Lobby, a chain of crafts and hobby stores sued, challenging the ACA’s provision which mandates that...more

The National Labor Relations Board and Higher Education: More change on the Horizon?

After what seemed like a small lull in NLRB activity impacting Higher Education, the National Labor Relations Board has once again signaled potentially significant alterations to the legal landscape....more

Supreme Court to Resolve Circuit Split in Health Care Reform Cases

The Supreme Court will review two of the numerous lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that group health plans and insurers cover, without cost-sharing, contraceptives and/or abortifacients (the...more

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like A Lawsuit: The Acceptable Role Of Religion In Public School Winter Musical Programs And Toy...

Thanksgiving is not yet here, but school districts across the country already are grappling with an important question regarding later, religious holidays like Christmas. The question: Can religious content be included in...more

Settlement Reached In Case Over Jesus Portrait In Ohio Middle School

In an earlier blog post, we addressed whether an Ohio school district violated the First Amendment by hanging a portrait of Jesus in a middle school. The portrait allegedly was a gift to the school board by a Christian...more

Sixth Circuit Rejects Challenge to ACA Based on Religious Beliefs

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires non-grandfathered health plans to cover certain preventative health services. In a case seeking an injunction to bar enforcement of ACA’s so-called “contraception mandate” on the ground...more

Religious Institutions Update - July 2013

Have you ever wondered how the United States Constitution came to incorporate "free exercise of religion" in the First Amendment? James Madison wrote the initial draft of the Bill of Rights. He and other Federalists initially...more

After Many Years, US Supreme Court Again Takes On Legislative Prayer

Cullen D. Seltzer, Esquire, litigator and colleague here at Sands Anderson PC, recently shared his report about a key legislative prayer case going to be decided by the United States Supreme Court. Given the number of...more

Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals Upholds City’s Invocation Policy For Council Meetings

In Rubin v. City of Lancaster, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s determination that the city council’s invocation policy and practice did not amount to an unconstitutional establishment of religion....more

Ninth Circuit Upholds Opening Prayers at City Council Meetings - Prayers May Be Sectarian But May Not Proselytize or Disparage...

Overview: The Ninth Circuit recently upheld as constitutional a city council’s practice of opening its sessions with prayer. The court upheld the city’s policy concerning such prayers, which extended the invitation to lead...more

Public School Teachers, Free Speech, and Hostile Environment

In public school, the constitutional tension can be high on these issues: students' and teachers' free speech rights; teachers' Free Exercise rights; the school's concern for the Establishment clause; when bullying begins;...more

U.S. District Court Enjoins Contraceptive Coverage Mandate Applied to For-Profit Religious Publishing Company

On November 16, 2102, in Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. v. Sebelius, No. 12-1635 (D. D.C. Nov. 16, 2012), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted a preliminary injunction to a closely held, for-profit...more

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