Friends, The new Alliance Alert Daily Digest is finally here! You can subscribe to the daily e-mail here: Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name *
Fox News (AP): The Supreme Court has denied an appeal from former California high school students who were ordered to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out during a celebration of the Cinco de Mayo holiday at school.
Deseret News: An example of this can be found in California, where the state’s Supreme Court unanimously voted to “prohibit state judges from belonging to the Boy Scouts on grounds that the group discriminates against gays.” This ruling comes in spite of the fact that the Boy Scouts of America allows all young men to fully participate regardless of sexual orientation, although restrictions for Scout leaders remain.
Breakpoint: Freedom of religion, freedom of association — these are rights guaranteed by the Constitution. But I guess a guarantee isn’t what it used to be.
The Daily Signal: Last week, the California Supreme Court voted to bar any California state judge from belonging to youth organizations that “invidiously discriminate,” apparently with the Boy Scouts of America in mind. This policy is the latest example of ideologues using government coercion to force public servants to conform their private lives to government ideology—or resign from public service.
WND: “American students shouldn’t be censored just because government officials think someone might be offended,” said Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom, one of the legal teams filing friend-of-the-court briefs in support of overturning the ruling.
Deseret News: Below is a sampling of nine recent cases in which Americans’ rights of conscience and religious liberty were in question or on trial. It’s true that religious liberty may not be fighting an all out war, but it’s clear that “there is an absolutist streak among some secular civil-rights advocates” as The Atlantic’s Jonathan Rauch argued last July. As Rauch asserts, such attitudes have led some to flippantly dismiss “the unique role religion plays in American life and the unique protections it enjoys under the First Amendment.”
National Review: In more news from the Intolerant Ideology of Tolerance: As this Orange County Register article reports, the California supreme court last week voted unanimouslyto “prohibit state judges from belonging to the Boy Scouts on grounds that the group discriminates against gays.” (In May 2013, the Boy Scouts eliminated its prohibition of youth members who are “open or avowed homosexuals” but retained its prohibition of adult leaders who are.)
Alliance Defending Freedom: What is this strange obsession so many in our nation have with silencing opinions they disagree with? It’s not like there aren’t other options – open and reasonable debate, the verdict of the ballot box, the simple option of ignoring those with whom one doesn’t see eye to eye.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of students at Morgan Hill Unified School District in California who were prohibited from wearing American flag T-shirts to express their patriotism.
Ethics and Public Policy Center: Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has long seemed to enjoy remarkable good fortune in getting assigned to sit on ideologically charged cases. Suspicions that his good fortune hasn’t been entirely due to luck were bolstered recently when the 9th Circuit revealed that its clerk’s office had had a longstanding but undisclosed practice of assigning expedited cases — which tend to be of special importance — to the calendar panel with the most senior presiding judge.
AZ Family: “Their services are at 9 in the morning so they’d have to put up their signs at 9 at night so it’s dark the entire time their signs are up,” said Jeremy Tedesco, attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom.
National Review: A follow-up to my two posts last month highlighting concerns about notorious liberal activist Stephen Reinhardt’s seemingly amazing propensity to be selected to sit on important cases with a strong ideological valence:
WND: The arguments for the cross’s removal have been based on somebody’s hurt “feelings,” according to attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which previously filed a brief in 2012 on behalf of thousands of members of the United Retired Firefighters Association and the American Legion.
SCOTUS Blog: Arguing that the Ninth Circuit panel that ruled against the Nevada ban on same-sex marriage last week did not appear to have been selected by a neutral process, a private group in that state on Monday asked the full Ninth Circuit to reconsider that ruling to assure that the group got a fair hearing.
MSNBC: The conservative Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Pastor Clyde Reed and Good News Community Church against the Town of Gilbert, Arizona, which says that the town’s policy on signage discriminates against churches. The appeals court said that since the rule applies to everyone equally, it isn’t discrimination.
AZ Central: “States have said the right to marry means a man and a woman coming together to form and raise the children that result from their union,” attorney Caleb Dalton has said.
BuzzFeed: Can Gilbert, Arizona, treat temporary signs relating to religious events differently than it treats political and ideological signs — or even than other event signs? And if the city does treat the signs differently, is that a “content-based” regulation subject to strict scrutiny, and, likely, unconstitutional? The Alliance Defending Freedom argues that it is unconstitutional in this long-standing case brought by Clyde Reed and Good News Community Church against Gilbert.
BRnow: “No law should treat the speech of churches worse than the speech of other similar speakers,” said Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel David Cortman, who will argue the case before the Supreme Court.
Religion News Service: Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian conservative legal group defending Reed, argues treating Good News’ signs different than other signs amounts to content-based discrimination on speech. The courts routinely strike down content-based speech laws.
The Catholic World Report (CNA): “No law should treat the speech of churches worse than the speech of other similar speakers,” stated ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman.
AZ Central: Alliance Defending Freedom, the local conservative group representing Reed, filed a brief of petitioners to the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 15.
The U.S. Supreme Court this week received numerous friend-of-the-court briefs opposing government discrimination against the speech of churches. The briefs include support from the federal government, several state attorneys general, religious liberty groups, Christian denominations, and others.
Charisma News: Though the dispute focuses only on a town sign code, the church’s lawyers from Alliance Defending Freedom, which focuses on religious-freedom issues, say it applies to billboards, news racks, picketing, cable broadcast signals and video games.
The Patriot Post: Represented by our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom, Pastor Reed and Good News Church sued to vindicate their constitutional rights. Yet the lower courts ruled against them, so they have now taken their case to the Supreme Court.
Religion News Service: Though the dispute focuses only on a town sign code, the church’s lawyers from Alliance Defending Freedom, which focuses on religious freedom issues, say it applies to billboards, news racks, picketing, cable broadcast signals and video games.
Daily Report: Cortman works for Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, acting as vice president for litigation out of the group’s Lawrenceville, Ga., office. The organization represents Good News Community Church, a small congregation that met in an elementary school in Gilbert, Ariz., later moving to a school located a few blocks away from the town border. Savrin represents the town of Gilbert.
Your West Valley (Capitol Media Services): “Whatever treatment the town decides to give other temporary signs, that’s what the church requests,” he said. “So, for example, if they say temporary signs can be up 30 days for each event, or whatever have you, as long as it’s a neutral regulation that applies across the board, that’s all that the church is asking.” [said attorney David Cortman]
One News Now: “But the churches’ signs can only go up when it’s dark, the night before their service, and they have to take the sign down immediately after the service is over,” says Cortman.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed their opening brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, a case concerning government speech discrimination against churches. The high court agreed in July to hear the case in the wake of a 2-1 U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decision that allows local governments to impose stricter regulations on temporary church signs than other temporary, non-commercial signs.
AZ Central: “To us, this is a case about religious freedom and about free speech,” Sharp said. “In this instance, the religious content of a sign shouldn’t be a determining factor in how long they get to speak, how big they get to speak, where the signs are located. The case really merges the two issues and asks to what extent does the First Amendment protect all speech?”
East Valley Tribune: The U.S. Supreme Court accepted a case involving a Gilbert ordinance regulating the size of temporary signs on church property.
Cronkite News: “We think this is an important case dealing with the First Amendment,” said Matt Sharp, counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the church. “You’re always thankful when it (the Supreme Court) finds your case important enough to take up for review.”
AZ Central: Matt Sharp, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, cheered the court’s decision to hear the case, saying it had been in limbo for months. “I think this court has shown a strong desire to clarify these important issues regarding First Amendment rights,” Sharp said.
Gov’t officials clash with church over signs advertising worship services – and the case could become the next important religious freedom battle
The Blaze: “Towns cannot apply stricter rules to church signs when it doesn’t apply them to ideological, political, and other non-commercial signs,” said David Cortman, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative legal firm representing Good News Presbyterian Church.
Breitbart: ADF’s David Cortman—who is lead counsel in Reed—exclusively tells Breitbart News, “We are thrilled the Court accepted this case and are confident they will hold that religious signs should be protected under the First Amendment.”
East Valley Tribune: “No law should treat the speech of churches worse than the speech of other similar speakers,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman in a press statement.
Alliance Defending Freedom: The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to review an Alliance Defending Freedom case concerning government speech discrimination against churches. ADF is asking the high court to reverse a 2-1 U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decision that allows local governments to impose stricter regulations on temporary church signs than other temporary, non-commercial signs.
Hamilton and Griffin on Rights: A sign case now on cert petition to US Supreme gives the Court an opportunity to clear up the lower court confusion about “content neutrality” in sign regulation and related areas.
Jacob Gershman at the Wall Street Journal: “The sharply conflicting perspectives—a kind of constitutional Rorschach test—capture a debate that has erupted in federal courtrooms across America about whether crosses displayed in memorials on public land violate the First Amendment’s ban on the establishment of religion. The Mount Soledad statue is one of at least four war-memorial crosses under legal fire by civil-liberty groups who want them off government land. The cross is a globally recognized symbol of Christian faith. But many veterans and others who have lost loved ones to battles or tragedy value the memorial crosses as monuments of remembrance, invested with historical weight.”
Ars Technica: “Media groups like the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and others told the Ninth US Circuit of Appeals Friday that its February decision ‘arguably expands the concept of copyright ownership in a manner that could allow the subjects of news coverage to exercise veto power over unflattering broadcasts.’”
SCOTUSblog: “The Obama administration told the Supreme Court on Monday that it objects strongly to a federal judge’s order that would require the government to take down a Christian cross that stands on a hill above San Diego, but said the Court should not get involved in the controversy until there is a final ruling in lower courts.”
Associated Press: “A federal appeals court panel on Tuesday issued an injunction blocking new Arizona abortion restrictions that are considered the most stringent in the nation, saying women likely would suffer irreparable harm if the rules are allowed to take effect.”
East Valley Tribune: “The top attorney for the state asked federal appellate judges Friday to immediately dissolve the emergency stay that is now keeping Arizona from enforcing its new abortion restrictions.”
Bloomberg: “Arizona was temporarily blocked from enforcing a statute limiting access to drug-induced abortions, part of an overhaul of state laws that opponents called the most extreme in the nation.”
9th Circuit press release: “The United States Senate today confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Los Angeles attorney John B. Owens to serve as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Confirmation came by a vote of 56-43.”
Reuters: “Earlier this year the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco found that a gay man was improperly excluded from jury service because of his sexual orientation, and ordered a new trial for GlaxoSmithKline Plc against AbbVie, an Abbott Laboratories spinoff.”
9th Circuit Smithkline Beecham Corporation v. Abbott Laboratories resource page.
Las Vegas Review-Journal: “The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has set oral arguments in Nevada’s same-sex marriage ban for April 9 in San Francisco.”
SCOTUSblog adds: “Lawyers who are involved in the Tenth Circuit’s case in support of Utah’s ban, which is set for argument on April 10, had asked the Ninth Circuit not to set the Nevada case for hearing close to that date. The Nevada case is Sevcik v. Sandoval (docket 12-17668).”
Religion Clause: “A petition for certiorari before judgment was filed yesterday with the U.S. Supreme Court in Mt. Soledad Memorial Association v. Trunk, asking the Court to review the latest decision in the long-running case prior to the 9th Circuit hearing arguments or deciding the latest appeal.”
Reuters: “Earlier this week, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to reject Google’s assertion that the removal of the film ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ which sparked protests across the Muslim world, amounted to a prior restraint of speech that violated the U.S. Constitution.” | More at How Appealing.
Eugene Volokh at The Volokh Conspiracy: “Today’s Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School Dist. (9th Cir. Feb. 27, 2014) upholds a California high school’s decision to forbid students from wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo.”
Religion Clause: “In Garcia v. Google, Inc., (9th Cir., Feb. 26, 2014), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, held that a preliminary injunction should be granted to require the controversial film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ to be removed from YouTube. The suit was filed by Cindy Lee Garcia who acted in a portion of the film.”
More from How Appealing.
Karoun Demirjian at the Las Vegas Sun: “The decades-long dispute over gay marriage is spinning close to a conclusion, as court cases question the constitutionality of banning same-sex unions, laying the groundwork for an increasingly inevitable reckoning in the Supreme Court.”
Paul Benjamin Linton at Public Discourse: “Nevada’s governor and attorney general have engaged in a cynical political ploy to undermine a decision by the people of Nevada to retain a sound understanding of marriage.”
Liberty Counsel Press Release: “Today, Liberty Counsel filed a Petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Pickup v. Brown, Liberty Counsel’s case on behalf of counselors who are providing and youth who are receiving counsel to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, and identity.”
Noah Feldman at Bloomberg: “What there isn’t is room for Olson and Boies, two accomplished, intelligent and perfectly charming people who have lumbered into an extremely sensitive and complex area of legal activism in which they are, frankly, newcomers. Their Proposition 8 efforts substantiate this problem. Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit wrote an opinion in the Prop 8 case that was designed to avoid Supreme Court review — because he himself, a former colleague of Kennedy’s and the maestro of pushing the constitutional envelope, judged that the Supreme Court was not quite ready. When the case went before the Supreme Court anyway, Olson and Boies pushed the claim for universal gay rights instead of emphasizing Reinhardt’s narrow holding. They had to — because they were in it for the historic judgment, not to win a one-off case for their clients.”
Greenfield Reporter (AP): “The Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a federal judge’s decision that allowed the U.S. Forest Service to renew a 10-year permit for a statue of Jesus that was placed on a northwestern Montana ski hill six decades ago.” | FFRF Press Release
LA Times: “A federal appeals court agreed Monday to put on hold a ruling in favor of a California law that bans licensed therapists from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation. . . . The 9th Circuit upheld the law in August and refused last month to hear another challenge. Liberty Counsel, a religious rights group, then asked the court to block enforcement of the law pending an appeal to the high court.” | The order is here.
Ed Whelan at NRO: “In his excellent lecture, Judge O’Scannlain explores Story’s understanding of natural law, including its foundation in man’s inherent and unchangeable nature. He contrasts Story’s understanding with the ‘fundamental philosophical premise’ of Planned Parenthood v. Casey and other recent rulings—namely, that the law ‘cannot assume that human nature has an objective reality.’”
ABC (AP): “The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Tuesday that a majority of its 27 judges voted against scheduling a new hearing. That leaves intact California’s first-in-the nation law barring licensed counselors from offering treatment geared toward changing the sexual orientation of minors.” | Amended opinion and order in Pickup v. Brown is here (via How Appealing).
How Appealing: Ninth Circuit grants 30-day extension of deadline to seek rehearing and rehearing en banc in case holding that equal protection prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in jury selection: You can access today’s order of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granting the extension at this link.
Dominic Perella at MSNBC: “This time, gay-rights advocates had better hope he’s caught the prevailing mood at the high court. That’s because his latest decision, issued Tuesday, may trigger Supreme Court review of the single most important legal issue for the gay-rights movement: Are laws that classify people based on sexual orientation subject to ‘heightened scrutiny?’”
Lyle Denniston at Constitution Daily: “Up to this point, [the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit] has held to the view that gay rights cases are to be analyzed under the ‘rational basis’ test. Lawyers for the same-sex couples in that case very likely will now press the argument that the Tenth Circuit Court should follow the Ninth Circuit Court’s interpretation of the meaning of U.S. v. Windsor.”
San Francisco Chronicle: “A lawyer can’t remove prospective jurors from a panel because they are gay or lesbian, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in a decision that could open the door to challenges of other types of discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
CBN News: “‘Every innocent life deserves to be protected. Not only did this law protect innocent children in the womb who experience horrific pain during a late-term abortion, it also protected mothers from the increased risk of physical harm and tremendous psychological consequences that come with late-term abortions,’ ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden said in a statement Monday.”
Washington Times: “Steven H. Aden of Alliance Defending Freedom lamented Monday’s news, saying, ‘New medical knowledge about the pain children can experience in the womb and the potential harms to women shouldn’t be ignored in any civilized society.’”
LifeNews: “Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven Aden emailed LifeNews about the ruling: ‘Every innocent life deserves to be protected. Not only did this law protect innocent children in the womb who experience horrific pain during a late-term abortion, it also protected mothers from the increased risk of physical harm and tremendous psychological consequences that come with late-term abortions.’”
Arizona Republic: “The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a controversial Arizona abortion case that could have significantly impacted the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade opinion. The high court Monday did not comment on why it declined to hear the case.”
Maureen O’Connor of OH Supreme Court at LA Times: One of the top federal appeals courts this month took a major step forward in opening the historically opaque federal judicial system to the public by expanding the use of cameras. When will the Supreme Court follow suit and finally allow cameras in its courtroom?
Kristi Burton Brown at Live Action News: Every innocent life deserves to be protected. Not only does this law protect children in the womb who experience horrific pain during a late-term abortion, it also protects mothers from the dangers and tremendous psychological consequences of late-term abortions,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “Arizona’s law is entirely reasonable and constitutional, and we hope the Supreme Court takes this invitation to revisit the extreme constraints Roe v. Wade imposed on state safeguards for women’s health.
Alec Torres at Education Views: As the lead plaintiff in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which has recently left the U.S. District Court for California’s Central District and will soon be on its way to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Friedrichs argues that forcing her to financially support union activism for political agendas she disagrees with violates her First Amendment rights.
Public Information Office of the Ninth Circuit: Internet users will soon have a seat in the courtroom when exceptionally important cases are argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Reuters: “Congress’s determination that all three kinds of advertising posed a significant threat to public programming is supported by substantial evidence,” Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote for the majority. | Opinion: Minority Television Project v. FCC