Archives: Establishment Clause

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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 Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States” – and denying the federal government’s emergency motion for a stay to allow enforcement … Continue Reading

Rocky Mountain Sign Law Blog: Installation of Ten Commandments On City Hall Lawn is Government Speech, Violates First Amendment

Original Photography by George Bannister (Licensed)Guest Post by Brian Connolly, Otten Johnson, PC Earlier this month, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Bloomfield, New Mexico’s installation of a Ten Commandments monument on the lawn in front of city hall violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In 2007, upon request of one of its members, the Bloomfield … Continue Reading

Nashville Islamic Center Claims Tax Rules Impose Unfair Burden

NashvilleGuest Post by Tavo T. True-Alcala The Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN) recently filed a federal complaint and request for declaratory judgment against the State of Tennessee, the Metropolitan Trustee of Nashville, and the Tennessee State Board of Equalization after it was denied a request for retroactive property tax relief. Since 1995, ICN has operated a religious … Continue Reading

RLUIPA Defense/Rocky Mountain Sign Law Joint Blog Post: Pennsylvania Borough’s Church Directional Signs Did Not Violate the Establishment Clause

This post is co-authored with Brian Connolly of Otten Johnson Robinson Neff + Ragonetti, contributor author to the Rocky Mountain Sign Law (www.rockymountainsignlaw.com) blog.  Late last month, a federal district court in Pennsylvania ruled that directional signs to a church, which contained images of a cross and bible, did not violate the Establishment Clause of … Continue Reading

New Jersey District Court Remands RLUIPA and Equal Protection Defense to State Court

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sued the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund Review Board, and Joseph A. Kovalcik, Jr. (“Defendants”) in New Jersey Superior Court claiming that the use of taxpayer money to fund the restoration of churches violates the New Jersey Constitution and the New Jersey Civil … Continue Reading

Satanists Score Victory in Phoenix

The Phoenix City Council has voted to abolish a 65-year practice of opening meetings with religious prayer.  Now, the meetings will begin with a moment of silence.  The vote was prompted by a request from the Satanic Temple of Tucson to lead the February 17 meeting with its own prayer.  The City Council decided that … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Non-Land Use Case Could Impact Land Use

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a request to review a church’s claim that the state of Missouri violated the federal constitution by prohibiting religious groups from obtaining state funding because of their religious nature.  The case involves Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, which runs a preschool and daycare in Missouri that is open … Continue Reading

Nativity Scenes & Starbucks Coffee Cups Spark Holiday Controversy Across Nation

It wouldn’t be the holidays without controversial nativity scenes igniting lawsuits across the country.  Generally, these lawsuits are brought under the Establishment Clause, alleging that the government illegally endorses one religion over another by permitting religious displays on public property.  Even controversial religious displays on private property can lead to zoning enforcement action.  Last year, … Continue Reading

Arkansas Senate Opens the Door; Baphomet Walks In

The Arkansas Senate, in  passing Bill no. 939 (now Act 1231), authorized the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol to purportedly “help the people of the United States and of the State of Arkansas to know the Ten Commandments as the moral foundation of the law.”  While … Continue Reading

Jesus is Just Alright, Holds the Ninth Circuit*

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed a lower court’s decision ruling that a twelve foot statute of Jesus near Montana’s Big Mountain does not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The statue, known as “Big Mountain Jesus,” is located on national forest land that the government leases to a private commercial ski resort. Freedom From Religion … Continue Reading

Mother & Daughter’s Challenge to Ten Commandments Monument Dismissed for Lack of Standing

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania dismissed an Establishment Clause challenge to a Ten Commandments monument located on the lawn outside a local high school, in Freedom From Religion Foundation v. New Kensington-Arnold School District (W.D. PA July 27, 2015).  The monument, six feet tall and weighing 2,000 pounds, sits on … Continue Reading

RLUIPA Round-Up

Here are news items involving local government, religion, and land use that have caught our attention. Religion Clause Blog reports that Indiana’s First Church of Cannabis is using the state’s recently enacted religious freedom law to protect its founder and two members from prosecution for possession of marijuana. The Church alleges that cannabis is the … Continue Reading

Ten Commandments Monument on Public Grounds Violates Oklahoma Constitution

In a case we have been following, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court has ruled that a Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds is unconstitutional under state law.  We previously reported on the lower court’s decision that the six-foot monument, which was a gift from an Oklahoman, did not violate the state constitution because of its historical value.  … Continue Reading
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