Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:
- The U.S. Supreme Court denied review in City of Ocala, Florida v. Rojas. In the case, the Eleventh Circuit vacated and remanded a district court’s Establishment Clause decision that had relied on the now-repudiated Lemon test. The district court had granted summary judgment to plaintiffs who challenged a prayer vigil co-sponsored by the Ocala police department held in response to a shooting spree that injured several children.
- In Speed Way Transportation, LLC v. City of Gahanna, Ohio, the Sixth Circuit held that a towing company adequately alleged an equal protection claim. Plaintiffs, who are Muslim, claimed religious and national origin discrimination in the city’s rejection of their bid for a three-year towing contract.
- In Carrier v. Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, Inc., a Georgia federal district court held that claims for unjust enrichment and violation of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act brought against a Christian apologetics ministry and the estate of its founder cannot proceed as a class action. Plaintiffs must instead proceed only in their individual capacities.
- The complaint in Arizona Christian University v. Washington Elementary School District No. 6 alleges that a public school district violated the Free Exercise Clause, Free Speech Clause, and other federal constitutional provisions, as well as Arizona law, when it terminated the student-teacher agreement between the university and the school district.
- In Griggs v. Graham, plaintiffs objected to the design of the default Mississippi license plates that included the state seal, a part of which was the motto “In God We Trust.” Specialty plates with alternative designs are more expensive and unavailable for trailers, RVs, and motorcycles. The court, relying on the Supreme Court’s 1977 decision in Wooley v. Maynard, refused to require the state to issue separate non-religious license plates.
- In Ossewaarde v. Russia, the European Court of Human Rights held that legal restrictions imposed by Russia in 2016 on religious proselytizing violated the rights of a Baptist pastor who was a U.S. national living in Russia. The court found violations of Articles 9 (freedom of religion) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights.