A case for preventing children's scraped knees

Apr 20, 2017, 00:14
A case for preventing children's scraped knees

But questions remain about the constitutionality of the state's position in Trinity Lutheran vs. Pauley, they said. The agency doling out the grants ranked the church's application fifth (out of 44) but-owing to a provision of the Missouri constitution barring aid to churches-turned it down. The state's shifting stance is not permanent and could be reversed, its lawyers argued. On Wednesday, the nine justices will assemble for what will be Neil Gorsuch's first SCOTUS case - and the outcome could be highly controversial.

The Columbia church case could become a game-changing case for religious freedom.

The fact of the matter, he said, is that the state would indeed be improperly supporting a specific religion if it paid for Trinity Lutheran's playground. President Donald Trump's appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch restored.

The news comes just a day before the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to begin hearing arguments in the case.

"The Missouri Supreme Court has interpreted [the state constitutional] language as significantly more explicit and more restrictive than the federal Establishment Clause", the letter by ADF lawyer David A. Cortman says, referring to the First Amendment's prohibition on a government establishment of religion. Now, however, the argument could focus on an unanticipated issue, as the Governor of Missouri has announced a new policy that reverses the ban on houses of worship receiving state grants at the heart of the dispute. Lower courts around the country have offered starkly different interpretations of various Blaine amendments - supreme courts in Wisconsin and Arizona ruled the opposite way from Colorado, for example - which is a classic precursor to Supreme Court intervention.

The case dates back to 2012, when the Columbia, Mo., church applied for a state grant to replace the unforgiving, pea gravel surface of its child learning center's playground with material made from recycled tires.

The state argues that providing grants to a religious school would mean government entanglement in religion but Becket argues that providing a grant to a Christian preschool for playground resurfacing doesn't represent government endorsement of religion. In 1947's Everson v. Board of Education, the high court ruled that it would not be unconstitutional for a state to provide to parochial schools services like busing and emergency services protection that are "indisputably marked off from the religious function" of the school.

When Justice Elena Kagan analogized this to a program to put computers in religious schools, Cortman said that this case is easier to decide because unlike computers, a playground doesn't enable any religious activity.

Hawley has recused himself from arguments because he has spoken in favor of the church, and his office could be required to defend the governor's policy in the future. "He very much was siding with religion, in terms of there being able to be more aid from government, siding with religion in terms of their challenges based on free exercise". By a vote of five to four, the Supreme Court later agreed with Gorsuch's view. Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas were in dissent. "I look forward to the Court's decision in the Trinity Lutheran case and to seeing how Justice Gorsuch's judicial career develops on the Court", Weber concluded.

"Religion has a special place in our constitutional tradition, a place that is protected by separating the institutions of religion and government".

Left-leaning sites like Slate are also rooting against Trinity Lutheran. Gorsuch affirmed his past ardent commitment to religious freedom against claims of government "intrusion".

The Supreme Court, with its conservative majority restored, will hear a major religion case on Wednesday and decide whether states must give church schools an equal right to receive certain kinds of public funds. Religious Right groups are hoping the Court will hear the case anyway in order to further pry open the constitutional door to direct funding for religious institutions and undermine constitutional provisions like Missouri's in other states.

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