Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:

  • A petition for certiorari was filed with the Supreme Court in Faith Bible Chapel International v. Tucker. The Tenth Circuit denied an en banc review of a panel decision that held that interlocutory appeals from the denial of a ministerial exception defense are not permitted. In the case, a former high school teacher and administrator/chaplain contends that he was fired for opposing alleged racial discrimination by a Christian school. 
  • In Belya v. Kapral, the Second Circuit denied en banc review of a three-judge panel decision which held that the collateral order doctrine does not allow the appeal of an interlocutory order rejecting a church autonomy defense. The defense was raised in an action in which the plaintiff contended that he was defamed when the defendants publicly accused him of forging a series of letters regarding his appointment as Bishop of Miami in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. 
  • The Second Circuit heard oral arguments in New Yorkers For Religious Liberty, Inc. v. The City of New York. At issue are First and Fourteenth Amendment challenges to New York City’s public employee COVID vaccine mandate by employees with religious objections to the vaccines. 
  • The Fifth Circuit heard oral arguments in U.S. Navy SEALs 1-26 v. Biden. In the case, a Texas federal district court issued preliminary injunctions barring the U.S. Navy from imposing its COVID-19 vaccine mandate on Navy service members who sought religious exemptions from the requirement. 
  • In Lubavitch of Old Westbury, Inc. v. Incorporated Village of Old Westbury, New York, a New York federal magistrate judge recommended that the district court dismiss on various procedural and jurisdictional grounds a number of claims in a long-running suit by an Orthodox Jewish Chabad organization, which has been unable to obtain permission to use its property for religious education, worship, and related activities. The Second Amended Complaint in the case asserted seventeen causes of action under the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. It also asserted causes of action under RLUIPA and the state Constitution. 
  • In Collins v. City University of New York, a New York federal district court rejected a student’s claims that his free exercise, equal protection, and procedural due process rights were violated when he was denied a religious exemption from City University’s COVID vaccine mandate. In rejecting the student’s free exercise claim, the court said that the Vaccination Policy is neutral, generally applicable, and easily passes rational basis review. 

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