Around the Web

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

  • By a 6-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant an injunction pending appeal in Dunn v. Austin. At issue was a suit by an Air Force Reserve officer who was denied a religious exemption from the military’s vaccine mandate.
  • In Gallo v. Washington Nationals Baseball Club, LLC, suit was filed in a D.C. federal district court by a scout for the Washington Nationals baseball team who was denied an accommodation for his religious objections to the baseball club’s COVID vaccine mandate.
  • In Smith v. Li, an inmate on death row brought a RLUIPA suit in a Tennessee federal district court seeking to stop the medical examiner from performing an autopsy after his death because it would violate his religious beliefs. The court enjoined the autopsy and held that the government could not show that conducting an autopsy in this case is necessary to fulfill a compelling government interest.
  • In Ciraci v. J.M. Smucker Co., an Ohio federal district court dismissed a suit by employees of a food manufacturer who claimed that their First Amendment free exercise rights were infringed when their employer denied them religious exemptions and required them to comply with the Presidential Executive Order mandating COVID vaccinations for employees of federal contractors. The court found the company is not a “state actor” when it complies with a federal vaccine mandate.
  • The Arizona legislature has passed HB 2507, a bill primarily aimed at preventing state and local governments from closing religious organizations in future states of emergency.
  • In Ali v. Heathrow Express Operating Company Ltd., the United Kingdom Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld an Employment Tribunal’s dismissal of an Equality Act religious harassment complaint. The complaint was brought by a Muslim employee of the Heathrow Express train service after a paper with a religious phrase in Arabic was placed in a test bag, by another employee, during a suspicious-objects training test.

Call for Papers: “The Challenges of Law, Religion and State in Health Care and Mental Health”

The Journal of Law, Religion and State invites contributions for its upcoming online workshop, “The Challenges of Law, Religion and State in Health Care and Mental Health.” The workshop will take place on July 26 & 27, 2022, and will focus on examining the different interactions between health-related state law and policy and the regulation of medical treatment and care by religious laws and norms.

Researchers are invited to submit abstracts on topics including, but not limited to, (1) organ transplant; (2) abortion; (3) IVF and other reproductive procedures; (4) end-of-life care; (5) the use of drugs; (6) capacity to consent to treatment; (7) patient rights; and (8) deontology. 

Additionally, the Journal of Law, Religion and State encourages contributions that focus more specifically on mental health. These submissions can deal with questions such as: (1) Can religious clerics provide mental health care? (2) What is the appropriate regulation of such care? (3) Can professionals offer religiously-guided and/or religiously-adapted mental health care? and (4) What is the normative status of mental health definitions and professionally accepted norms and standards of care, which may be disrupted by some religious patients or staff? 

Abstracts submissions (between 250-500 words) are due before April 30, 2022, and should be sent to Amos Israel (aisrael@mail.sapir.ac.il). Acceptance decisions will be relayed to authors no later than May 5, 2022.  

Authors whose proposals are accepted must provide a rough first draft of their paper (8000-10,000 words) no later than July 5, 2022

Papers presented at the workshop will be peer-reviewed, and a selection of those accepted will be published in a special theme-issue of the Journal of Law, Religion and State (planned for December 2022).  

Around the Web

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

  • In Toor v. Berger, four Sikh recruits filed suit against the Marine Corps seeking an accommodation that would allow them to wear religious beards and turbans while serving.
  • In Riley v. Hamilton County Government, a Tennessee federal district court refused to dismiss an Establishment Clause claim brought against a Deputy Sheriff who failed to intervene when another Deputy Sheriff coerced the plaintiff into participating in a Christian baptism during a traffic stop.
  • A Virginia school board prohibited a group of student-athletes at Blacksburg High School from wearing “Pray for Peace” shirts in support of Ukraine during pre-game warm-ups on the ground that the shirts are “political” and “religious.”
  • Shawnee State University has agreed to pay $400,000 in damages plus attorney’s fees after the Sixth Circuit held that the University violated the free exercise rights of a philosophy professor by mandating that the Professor use students’ preferred gender pronouns.
  • The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem has denounced restrictions that would limit the annual Holy Fire ceremony to 1,000 people inside the church, with 500 allowed on the church’s grounds. The Patriarchate claims that the restrictions imposed by Israeli officials infringe on their religious liberty.
  • A 76-year-old woman is seeking to overturn a fine she received for taking a “solitary prayer walk” during a COVID-19 lockdown in England.

Around the Web

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

  • The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Mack. The arguments come after a Texas federal district court held that a program devised by a Justice of the Peace under which his court sessions are opened with a prayer from a volunteer chaplain violates the Establishment Clause.
  • In Mahoney v. United States Capitol Police Board, a D.C. federal district court refused to grant a preliminary injunction to a clergyman who was denied a permit to hold a large prayer vigil on part of the Capitol grounds.
  • In Weston v. Sears, an Ohio federal magistrate judge recommended that Plaintiff, a Seventh Day Adventist, be permitted to proceed in forma pauperis with her Title VII claim for religious discrimination. Plaintiff was fired for failing, until after the end of her Sabbath, to return multiple phone calls from her manager.
  • Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has signed a bill prohibiting discrimination against faith-based adoption and foster care organizations, including a requirement that they place children in same-sex households when doing so would violate their religious beliefs.
  • In Affaire Assemblée chrétienne des Témoins de Jéhovah d’Anderlecht et autres c. Belgique, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of a Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Belgium that was denied a property tax exemption for property they used for religious worship.
  • Spain’s Senate voted Wednesday in favor of a bill that amends the country’s penal code to criminalize “harassment” of women entering abortion clinics.

Around the Web

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

  • In Austin v. U.S. Navy Seals 1-26, the Supreme Court, by a vote of 6-3, stayed a Texas district court’s order that barred the Navy from considering the COVID-19 vaccination status of service members who object to the vaccine on religious grounds in making decisions regarding deployment, assignment, and operations. 
  • The Supreme Court denied review in Brysk v. Herskovitz, in which the Sixth Circuit had dismissed a suit brought by synagogue members against anti-Israel picketers who have picketed services at the Beth Israel Synagogue since 2003.
  • In Keister v. Bell, the Eleventh Circuit rejected a challenge brought by a traveling evangelical preacher against the University of Alabama after the University prohibited the preacher from setting up a banner, passing out literature, and preaching on a campus sidewalk because he did not have a permit. The court found the sidewalk was a limited public forum and thus the University could impose reasonable, viewpoint-neutral restrictions.
  • In Wagner v. Saint Joseph’s/Candler Health Systems, Inc., a Georgia federal district court held that a hospital did not violate Title VII after it fired an Orthodox Jewish employee for taking seven days off to observe the Fall Jewish holidays.
  • In Denton v. City of El Paso, a Texas federal magistrate judge concluded that the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights were violated by a city policy that prohibited the plaintiff from proselytizing at the Downtown Art and Farmers Market.
  • A Christian doctor, who lost his job for refusing to use patients’ preferred pronouns, will appear before a tribunal in the United Kingdom this week to challenge a ruling that held that biblical beliefs on gender are “incompatible with human dignity.”
  • In Christian Religious Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the NKR v. Armenia, the European Court of Human Rights held that refusal by Nagorno Karabakh to register Jehovah’s Witnesses as a religious organization amounts to a violation of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Around the Web

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

  • The U.S. Supreme Court denied review in Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission v. Woods, a case involving whether religious groups are exempt from state non-discrimination employment laws.
  • In Ramirez v. Collier, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a death row prisoner was likely to succeed on his Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) lawsuit challenging limits on his pastor’s activities in the execution chamber. The Court held that petitioner is entitled to a preliminary injunction barring Texas from proceeding with his execution without permitting his pastor, during the execution, to lay hands on the prisoner and audibly pray with him.
  • In Canaan Christian Church v. Montgomery County Maryland, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Montgomery County did not violate a church’s rights under RLUIPA or the First Amendment when it refused to extend public sewer lines to properties on which the church proposed to construct new buildings.
  • In Catholic Charities West Michigan v. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, a Michigan federal district court approved a settlement agreement after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services conceded it would violate the First Amendment to take any adverse action against Catholic Charities because the ministry prioritizes placing foster and adoptive children in homes with a married mother and father.
  • In United States v. City of Troy, a Michigan federal district court held the city of Troy, Michigan had violated the “equal terms” provisions of RLUIPA and enjoined the city from enforcing its zoning ordinance that imposes stricter standards on places of worship than it does on non-religious uses in the same zoning district.
  • In Kariye v. Mayorkas, suit was filed by three Muslim Americans who claim U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents asked them religiously intrusive questions upon their return from international travel.

Around the Web

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

  • The Supreme Court has relisted two cases involving religious exercise claims, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission v. Woods and Hedican v. Walmart Stores East, L.P., for its upcoming conference.
  • A Kansas teacher filed suit against her school district superintendent, board members, and principal after being suspended for refusing to use a student’s preferred name due to her religious beliefs.
  • In Heras v. Diocese of Corpus Christie, a Texas appellate court affirmed the dismissal of two priests’ defamation suits on ecclesiastical abstention grounds.
  • Ohio Governor signed into law Senate Bill 181, which allows students to wear religious apparel while competing in athletic competitions or extracurricular activities.
  • In Resham v. State of Karnataka, a 3-judge panel of the High Court of the Indian state of Karnataka upheld a ban on hijabs in schools and colleges. The Court stated that the “wearing of hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith.”
  • Quebec’s new Bill 21 bans Canadians working as teachers, lawyers, police officers, and more from wearing religious symbols such as crosses, hijabs, turbans and yarmulkes.
  • Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau, in a letter to Israel’s attorney general, has proposed setting up a special religious court to assist the expected 30,000 plus Ukrainian refugees.

Around the Web

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

  • On Monday, the Biden Administration filed an emergency application with Justice Alito after the 5th Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction which protects Navy service members from facing consequences for their faith-based opposition to COVID-19 vaccines.
  • In Byrne v. Bowser, suit was filed in the D.C. federal district court by a nun who is a surgeon and family physician after she was denied a religious exemption from the District’s vaccine requirement for health care professionals.
  • In Dugan v. Bowser, suit was filed in the D.C. federal district court by parents of Catholic school students alleging that imposing the mask mandate on Catholic schools violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment.
  • In Temple of 1001 Buddhas v. City of Fremont, a California federal district court dismissed a suit by a religious adherent who lives on property owned by the Temple of 1001 Buddhas. The claimant challenged the city’s enforcement of the state’s building, electrical, and plumbing codes as a violation of RLUIPA.
  • In Ferrelli v. State of New York Unified Court System, a New York federal district court upheld the system for determining whether employees are entitled to religious exemptions from the COVID vaccine mandate imposed on all judges and employees of the New York State court system. The court concluded that the exemption process was neutral and generally applicable.
  • Virginia senators block a bill that would have prevented the governor from using an executive order to impose restrictions on the exercise of religion and would have prevented any such rule, regulation, or order from any governmental entity.
  • The EEOC has provided employers with updated guidance regarding religious objections to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Around the Web

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

  • The U.S. Supreme Court denied review in Gordon College v. DeWeese-Boyd, in which the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that the ministerial exception does not apply in a suit by a professor at a private Christian college who alleges her promotion was denied because of her public criticism of the school’s policies on LGBTQ students.
  • In U.S. Navy Seals 1-26 v. Biden, the Fifth Circuit refused to grant the Navy a partial stay of an injunction protecting a group of personnel who refuse to comply with the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for religious reasons.
  • In Miller v. Acosta, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court properly found that the defendant was entitled to qualified immunity on an inmate’s free exercise claim.
  • In Poffenbarger v. Kendall, an Ohio federal district court issued a preliminary injunction barring the Air Force from penalizing an Air Force reservist who refuses to comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandates due to religious objections.
  • In Sandoval v. Madison Equal Opportunities Commission, a Wisconsin state appellate court upheld the finding that Capitoland Christian Center Church did not engage in employment discrimination after an employee left her job over a policy barring unmarried employees from cohabitating.
  • Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, a Democrat in Oakland, introduced a piece of legislation that would reduce residential parking requirements for newly built religious institutions to allow for the construction of housing.

Around the Web

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

  • The U.S. Supreme Court grants cert in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis. The grant of cert was limited to the question of “[w]hether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.”
  • In Mahoney v. United States Capitol Police Board, a clergyman challenged traffic regulations that barred demonstrations by twenty or more people at locations near the U.S. Capitol. While the D.C. federal district court rejected Plaintiff’s Free Exercise and RFRA challenges, it allowed him to move forward with his selective enforcement and free-association claims.
  • In Christian Medical & Dental Associations v. Bonta, suit was filed by an organization of Christian healthcare professionals challenging the current version of California’s End of Life Options Act (EOLA). Plaintiffs allege that changes made to EOLA last year remove previous protections and now require doctors to participate in assisted suicide in violation of their religious beliefs.
  • In Chamberlain v. Montoya, a New Hampshire federal district court dismissed the complaint after the parties agreed to settle. The settlement allows the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center to keep a Bible as part of their “Missing Man Table;” however, the organization will now also allow for the sponsorship of a generic “Book of Faith.”
  • The Missouri Religious Freedom Protection Act has won first-round approval in the Missouri House of Representatives. If enacted, the bill would prevent public officials from shutting down meetings or services held by religious groups.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey demands answers from the Alabama High School Athletic Association after the Oakwood Adventist Academy’s boys basketball team was forced to forfeit a semifinal game in the state tournament due to their observance of the sabbath.
  • Colombia’s highest court has voted to legalize abortion until the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy.
  • The Judicial Selection Committee of Israel has appointed the first Muslim to a permanent seat on Israel’s Supreme Court.