Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
DOMA Ruling: As Violent Anti-Gay Marriage Protests Rock France, Will the Same Happen in the U.S.? | Des Moines Register
Des Moines Register: In documents filed Tuesday, the college agreed to pay Jacob Dagel $100 and cover attorneys’ fees of $13,700 to end the case without admitting wrongdoing. Dagel was represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative group.
HSLDA: We’re a Christian family with four children, ages 6—12 years. Since our marriage, my wife and I were living in or near Munich, Germany, joining a small Church there. It was probably when our oldest daughter was still a toddler that we started thinking about school.
CentralKYNews: Despite the opposition of at least six students, Lincoln County High School kept to its tradition of student-led prayer during its graduation ceremony Friday.
TylerPaper.com: A planned school play by fifth graders at E.J. Moss Intermediate School in Lindale which drew fire from a national group stating the program calling it an “egregious violation” of the First Amendment will go on after modifications.
Joel Alicia at Washington Times: f our elite law schools are to serve their students and the country well, they must actively seek out the best minds representing all points of view. That does not imply giving conservative candidates preferential treatment when making hiring decisions; all candidates must be held to the same academic standards. It does mean, though, that law schools should be eager to hire scholars who represent perspectives that are absent from their faculties. Law school campuses would have a richer and more vibrant intellectual life as a result, and the country would be the primary beneficiary.
Christian Fired from State University for Expressing Her Views on Homosexuality in Op-Ed; U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Review Case
AFLC: Today, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Crystal Dixon, a former human resources administrator at the University of Toledo who was fired in 2008 for expressing her personal, Christian viewpoint on homosexuality in an op-ed published in the local newspaper.
Via Walter Russell Mead, I learn that the New York City Council passed a resolution on Marc DeGirolami at Mirror of Justice: Wednesday calling for the granting of equal access to churches and houses of worship to public school property (it calls for new legislation to amend the New York State Education Law in this respect). Over at CLR Forum, I have on various occasions discussed the “serpentine path” of litigation in the Bronx Household of Faith case . . .
American Federation for Children: The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, today applauded the Iowa Legislature after both chambers unanimously passing House Bill 225, which increases the amount of tax credits School Tuition Organizations (STO) can receive, from $8.75 million to $12 million a year.
World Magazine: “The resolution is more than symbolic,” wrote lawyer Jordan Lorence in an email. Lorence is handling the case against the city’s policy in court for Alliance Defending Freedom. “The passage of a resolution urging enactment of specific legislation is the formal way the NYC Council makes its will known to state lawmakers.”
NYC Council Passes ‘Right to Worship’ Resolution to Give Churches Access to Schools | Christian Post
Christian Post: Despite the current victory, cited as “symbolic” by Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jordan Lorence, there is still a federal battle waging in regard to the Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York court case. [more --- history of the litigation detailed]
Religion Clause Blog: On Monday, the Texas legislature gave final passage and sent to the governor for his signature HB 308 that attempts to protect public schools’ teaching about Christmas and Hanukkah. The bill provides . . .
We commend the New York City Council for urging the state legislature to repeal the Department of Education’s policy banning worship services from vacant school buildings. Alliance Defending Freedom will continue to defend the freedom of churches and other religious groups to meet in public schools until they are as free as other groups to serve their communities.
USA Today: An 18-year-old Florida cheerleader is facing felony charges that she had sexual contact with her underage, 14-year-old girlfriend, leading gay rights advocates to say the teen is being unfairly targeted for a common high school romance because she’s gay.
The Star Press: Ball State University is investigating a complaint that one of its assistant professors in the department of physics and astronomy is preaching rather than teaching. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, whose mission is to act as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the principle of separation of state and church, filed an objection to Eric Hedin’s teaching.
Jeremy Tedesco appeared on the Zeb Bell Show to discuss this: Benefits Restored To Montana’s Disabled Children Of Faith. | MP3 audio 10:34 mins
National Law Journal: Harvard Law School has announced a pilot program under which Harvard undergraduates may apply and gain acceptance during their junior year, provided they agree to work for two years in between graduation and beginning their legal studies. If the pilot program succeeds, the law school might expand eligibility to juniors at other universities, assistant dean and chief admissions officer Jessica Soban said.
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jonathan Scruggs explains that as part of an assignment, their client created a pro-life poster that the principal ordered to be taken down after just one parent complained. But as the attorney notes, restricting speech based on one complaint is known in legal circles as a “heckler’s veto.”
Forum 18: China does not allow religious communities to run schools for children, even though regulations do not forbid the provision of religious education to minors. Nor is religious education provided in state schools. For students beyond school age, only state-approved religious groups affiliated with China’s five state-backed monopoly faiths are allowed to apply to set up institutions for the study of their faith or training of clergy, Forum 18 News Service notes. Restrictions are especially tight in Tibet and Xinjiang. The state limits the number of such institutions and their size. Establishing new colleges is cumbersome and long drawn out, even when successful. Their curricula must include “politics” and “patriotic” education, as defined by the state. The state also discourages religious activity on general university campuses. These restrictions reflect the authoritarian state’s desire to control religious groups, including by intervening in the training of their leaders and the level of education of their members.
The Raw Story: The American Humanist Association threatened to sue Missouri’s Fayette School District and several school officials on Wednesday for their alleged roles in holding morning religious ceremonies with students on school grounds every week for at least the last year.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: The AP reports on a US Apeals Court decision to leave a family of homeschoolers at the mercy of the German Government, even though the Court found that the US Constitution forbids the state from prohibiting homeschooling. The family faces impossible fines and loss of custody of their children if they are returned to Germany. They should have just pretended to be gay.
EagNews: However the superintendent and board have declared that Planned Parenthood will continue to teach our children as long as its grant from the federal government lasts.
Washington Post: Recent law school grads face a tough job market, daunting student loans and — if they land a job — a demanding work environment. Steven Harper’s “The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis”serves as a wake up call and warning for students disillusioned by the prestigious lawyers they watch on T.V.
Christian News: According to the Times Free Press, one parent, Mitzi Yates, found a permission slip in her son’s backpack and contacted the school to ask that the Bibles not be distributed to children even if parents approved.
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: Jonathan posted earlier today about Romeike v. Holder (6th Cir. May 14, 2013), which reject German homeschoolers’ asylum claim. The opinion is quite readable and persuasive, and I recommend it to those interested in the subject. But here’s my general thinking (reprised from 2010 post on the original immigration judge decision in the case), and stressing that I’m not an expert on asylum law:
One News Now: ADF attorney David Hacker says Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) was barring student Jacob Dagel from freely handing out flyers protesting the use of college funds to subsidize a governor’s lesbian, “gay,” bisexual and transgender youth conference. “They required student to get permission ten days in advance of doing anything on campus, and then once they got that permission, they could only speak or hand out flyers or papers to their peers if they sat at a table in the student center,” Hacker details. “It’s a really restrictive policy and one that was clearly unconstitutional.”
Disabled children attending faith-based schools who qualify for aid under a federal program will now be eligible to receive tuition aid in the wake of an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit against the Montana Office of Public Instruction.
Bangor Daily News: South Bristol Elementary School eighth-graders will launch their handmade skiffs next month without the traditional “blessing of the fleet” after a letter from Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State informed the school that student involvement with the historic maritime ceremony violated the First Amendment.
Jonathan Adler reports on the ruling at the Volokh Conspiracy: The relevant legislation applies only to those who have a “well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A). There is a difference between the persecution of a discrete group and the prosecution of those who violate a generally applicable law.
San Francisco Chronicle: Plaques displaying the Ten Commandments have been removed from classrooms in the Muldrow School District after its board opted to “honor thy constitution” rather than risk a federal lawsuit.
Sacramento Bee: Two bills aimed at eliminating obstacles facing transgender people cleared the Assembly largely along party lines Thursday, including one measure to let students choose the bathroom and sports team that correlates with their gender identity. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said his Assembly Bill 1266 would force school districts to comply with current laws prohibiting discrimination against transgender students.
Patheos: Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Gregory S. Baylor, whose organization argued for the constitutionality of the program, defended it on the grounds that “parents should be able to choose what’s best for their own children.” “The ultimate winners in the Indiana Supreme Court’s decision are Indiana families who want to provide the best education for their children, whether it is public or private,” Baylor said March 26.
Mercury News (AP): California education officials took the first step this week toward complying with a law that requires public schools to include prominent gay people and gay rights’ milestones in the curriculum, adopting a set of classroom material guidelines that prohibit “pejorative descriptions” based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Volokh Conspiracy: The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is telling universities to institute speech codes. And not just any old speech codes: Under these speech codes, universities would be required to prohibit students from, for instance . . .
ABC (AP): The Texas House on Wednesday approved a bipartisan bill that aims to remove legal risks of saying “Merry Christmas” in Texas public schools.
NorthJersey.com: The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey filed a public records request on Thursday demanding the disclosure of guidelines that the Christie administration followed when it granted $11 million to two religious schools, almost all of it to an orthodox Jewish rabbinical school.
Christian Post: Debate over prayer in school made headlines again, this time in the Riverside School District in Lake City, Ark. Its school board voted on Monday to cancel its sixth grade ceremony rather than to allow prayer to be a part of the ceremony.
NYC City Council to Vote on Permitting Worship Services in Empty Public Schools | Jordan Lorence at the NYC info
Jordan Lorence at the NYC info: Religious liberty will likely take a step forward May 22, when the New York City Council votes on a resolution asking the New York Legislature to overturn a state law that permits the New York City public school policy that bans private worship services in the vacant buildings when school is not in session. | originally posted at Speak Up Movement.
LifeNews: Lawyers at the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit on May 3. “Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas,” said Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all students, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.”
L. Brent Bozell III at The Journal: Lawyers at the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit May 3. “Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas,” said Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all students, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.”
SCOTUS LiveBlog is reporting that the U.S. Supreme took no action in Town of Greece v. Galloway (legislative prayer case) or Elmbrook School District v. Doe (public high school graduations in church buildings).
Statesman Journal: Data about sexual orientation are scarce on college campuses, leading an Oregon graduate student to turn to lawmakers for help to collect research.
CNN: Student loan debt is leading some borrowers to put off buying a home, saving for retirement or even getting hitched — and many now regret taking out the loans in the first place.
Fox News Radio: A Georgia school district will no longer allow prayers or songs with religious references at graduation ceremonies after a Wisconsin group threatened to file a lawsuit and suggested that forcing non-Christian students to listen to religious music was a form of bullying.
CBS: In Minnesota, for instance, a sixth grader at Nova Classical Academy was one of several students handing out pro-life fliers to other students during their lunch break. They weren’t making a big deal about it, or forcing the fliers on students who didn’t express an interest. This is just an issue these students care about. (One flier read, “Save the baby humans. Stop abortion.”) A few days later, the students were called into the school director’s office . . .
The Interior Journal: A dust-up over prayer at Lincoln County High School’s upcoming graduation ceremony has ruffled feathers and garnered national headlines, but some involved say the real issues at hand seem to be getting lost in a sea of misinformation.
DFW Catholic: Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Gregory S. Baylor, whose organization argued for the constitutionality of the program, defended it on the grounds that “parents should be able to choose what’s best for their own children.” “The ultimate winners in the Indiana Supreme Court’s decision are Indiana families who want to provide the best education for their children, whether it is public or private,” Baylor said March 26.
L. Brent Bozell at the Patriot Post: Lawyers at the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit on May 3. “Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas,” said Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all students, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.”
Todd Starnes at Fox News (includes video): Late last year, a public school teacher in northern Idaho told students to write an essay titled, “I Believe.” But there was one caveat – the students were not allowed to write anything about God in their papers.
Maine Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics Joins Other Child Welfare Organizations on Brief Sup
GLAD: Today, the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and other child welfare organizations filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in support of a transgender girl who experienced discrimination …
LifeNews: “Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas,” said Legal Counsel Jon Scruggs. “We commend Griggs County Central High School for believing in this principle and promptly allowing the pro-life poster to be redisplayed.”
Religion Clause Blog: A Texas trial court yesterday decided a widely-followed Establishment Clause case. In Matthews v. Kountze Independent School District, (TX Dist. Ct., May 8, 2013), the court rejected an Establishment Clause challenge to high school cheerleaders displaying their own banners and “run-throughs” containing religious messages at football games and other sporting events.
Washington Times: The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday that beginning with the 2014-2015 federal student aid form, the Department will — for the first time — collect income “from a dependent student’s legal parents regardless of the parents’ marital status or gender, if those parents live together.”
Norbert Blum at WorldCrunch: In a society designed around individual liberty, has marriage become little more than a temporary link-up of working people choosing to spend some free time together? And the kids?
The American Prospect: To critics, the degree is little more than a scam making extra cash from attorneys desperate to burnish their credentials in a brutal legal job market.
WRAL.com: Senate Bill 132 says the state’s mandated health curriculum on reproductive health and safety “shall include information about the preventable causes of preterm birth, including induced abortion as a cause of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies.”
Baptist Press: Alan Sears, president of Alliance Defending Freedom, noted that a key benefit of ADF’s involvement in helping defend religious freedom overseas is “the crucial perspective it gives us” for defending legal rights in America.”
Matt Sharp at Alliance Defending Freedom: I’m often surprised by the number of school administrators under the mistaken belief that the First Amendment has an age limit. They think that while a kid is in elementary or middle school, they can stop them from expressing their views and that kids have to wait until high school to have constitutional rights.
One day after receiving a letter from Alliance Defending Freedom, a North Dakota high school and its district agreed to allow a student’s pro-life poster that was part of a class assignment to be placed back on the walls of the school.
Liberty Institute: Today, Hardin County District Court Judge Steven Thomas entered an order granting the Kountze Cheerleaders a victory in the seven-month-long case over the permissibility of displaying run-through banners with Bible messages at Kountze ISD sporting events.
Citizen-Times.com: Bills protecting organizational rights of student groups and student-led prayer are advancing in the North Carolina Senate.
Fox 19: The Riverside School district has decided not to have a 6th grade graduation this year after a parent protested against prayer during the ceremony.
Sacramento Bee: iberty Institute and Beaumont attorney David Starnes will accompany their clients, members of the Kountze High School and Middle School Cheerleaders and their parents during a media availability to discuss a Hardin County District Judge’s expected ruling tomorrow in the high-profile case over the constitutionality of the cheerleaders’ display of run-through banners with Bible messages at sporting events.
Matt Sharp on the Zeb Bell Show to discuss this: Minn. School Says It Has ‘every Right To Prohibit Student Speech’ | MP3 audio 11:05 mins
Des Moines Register (AP): “It was a non-issue the day after,” said Denson. “There was no need for a lawsuit in the first place.” Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of Dagel in April. A motion followed shortly for a preliminary injunction to stop the policy from being enforced. “That’s news to me,” said David Hacker, a senior legal counsel at Alliance, about Denson’s comments that the policy has not been enforced since late March. “As far as we know, when we filed the lawsuit and we filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, the policy was still in the books.”
WOI-TV.com: Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of Dagel, says they hope to reach a settlement soon.
HSLDA: Last week, HSLDA sent a nationwide alert asking you to call your U.S. senators and urge them to sign a letter from Senator Chuck Grassley exhorting Congress to defund the federal government’s role in the Common Core Standards and Curriculum.
Religion Clause Blog: The Louisiana Supreme Court today in a 6-1 decision held that the state’s school voucher program enacted in 2012 violates the state constitution. In Louisiana Federation of Teachers v. State of Louisiana, (LA Sup. Ct., May 7, 2013) . . .
The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, today urged the Louisiana Legislature and Governor to find a legislative solution after the Louisiana Supreme Court struck down the current funding mechanism for state’s voucher program. The Court only ruled against the funding of the voucher program and did not strike down the constitutionality of the program.
Des Moines Area Community College has agreed to no longer enforce its policy of limiting its approved student speech zone to a table in the student center. It has also agreed to no longer require students to get permission to distribute fliers 10 school days in advance.
One News Now: Roger Kiska, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, explains the state’s point of view. “They’re absolutely oppressive with regard to parental rights. They believe that the only duty of the parents basically is to give birth and then the child belongs to the state,” he tells American Family News. “So we had known all along that this was going to be something that would have to be taken from Sweden and brought to the European level.” Kiska says the remaining option is to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, which has jurisdiction over Sweden. [more]
Religion Clause Blog: Yesterday’s Newark Star-Ledger reports that in New Jersey, some Democrats are questioning the inclusion of a large, all-male Orthodox Jewish rabbinical school among the institutions of higher education that will participate in the $1.3 billion of state financing for construction at New Jersey colleges and universities.
AP: A South Carolina high school teacher removed from the classroom when he stomped on an American flag while discussing freedom is being paid $85,000 to avoid a legal challenge.
Richard A. Epstein at WSJ: Law schools are under siege. Applications have dropped to around 54,000 annually, from around 100,000 in 2004. First-year enrollment has slipped to under 40,000 students, from 50,000 in 2010. Jobs are scarce—especially for students coming from lower-tier law schools. The average annual tuition has risen to just over $40,000 per year, from about $23,000 in 2001. Average debt on graduation has followed suit, jumping to about $125,000 in 2011, from $70,000 in 2001. No wonder many experts expect perhaps a dozen schools to close their doors within a year while other schools slash their class size, faculty and staff to stay open.
LifeNews: However, a sixth grade student in Minnesota was recently handing out simple fliers that read, “Save the baby humans. Stop abortion.” She passed them out at lunchtime to friends and classmates interested in the topic. The school considered this political activism and regarded it as offensive. She was banned from passing them out during or after school hours, even if students requested them. The school administration essentially denied this young girl of her constitutionally protected right to free speech. And to make matters worse, they said sixth graders don’t have this right to free speech until they reach high school. Alliance Defending Freedom has since filed a federal lawsuit on the grounds of censorship and “hostility toward religious expression.”