Call for Papers: Australian Journal of Law & Religion

The Australian Journal of Law and Religion, a new publication, is requesting submissions for its inaugural issue:

  • Articles should be 6,000 to 8,000 words in length and can involve any area of law. For example, articles may involve the sub-disciplines of public law (constitutional claims of freedom of religion or church-state neutrality), employment law (religious discrimination claims), private law (the corporate structures, taxation and charity law obligations, and property interests of religious entities), and international law (human rights guarantees).
  • Book review submissions should be no more than 1,000 words in length and must be on a book published in the past eighteen months.
  • Special topic forum submissions should be 800-1000 words in length. The topic for the inaugural special forum is “The Future of Law and Religion in Australia.”

Submissions for the inaugural issue must be submitted to editorsAJLR@gmail.com by March 1, 2022.

Around the Web

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

  • In Dahl v. Board of Trustees of Western Michigan University, the Sixth Circuit upheld an injunction barring Western Michigan University from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccine mandate against 16 Christian student-athletes who had applied for religious exemptions.
  • In Niblett v. Universal Protection Service, a California federal district court dismissed a damage action by a Muslim woman who was forced by a security guard to remove her hijab to enter a Public Social Services building.
  • In Dr. T. v. Alexander-Scott, a Rhode Island federal district court rejected a request to prevent enforcement of a Rhode Island Department of Health Emergency Regulation that requires all healthcare workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Plaintiffs challenge the regulation’s lack of religious exemptions.
  • In Schrenger v. Shields, a Kentucky police officer filed suit in federal district court seeking damages after the Department suspended him for praying outside an abortion clinic while in uniform, but prior to the start of his shift.
  • In United States v. State of Texas, a Texas federal district court preliminarily enjoined enforcement of Texas’ “heartbeat” abortion ban stating that a person’s right under the Constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability is well established.
  • A group of St. John’s University students is suing the University over its vaccine mandate, claiming that the requirement violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • Office of Personnel Management issued guidance to federal agencies for how to handle federal employees who are seeking a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The guidance states that the employee “must first establish that [their] refusal to be vaccinated is based upon a sincere belief that is religious in nature.”

Legal Spirits Episode 037: The NY COVID Vaccine Mandates and Religious Exemptions

In this episode, we tackle a recent set of challenges by religious objectors in New York to government imposed vaccine mandates. We run through some of the background in these cases, examine some of the comments by New York Governor Kathleen Hochul concerning religion and these mandates, and take a look at the relevant law of free exercise and due process. Listen in!

Around the Web

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

  • The U.S. Supreme Court granted cert in Harold Shurtleff v. Boston and is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the upcoming October term. The First Circuit unanimously upheld the lower court’s ruling that the city of Boston did not violate the First Amendment by refusing to fly a Christian flag on one of the flag poles outside City Hall on Constitution day.
  • In 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, a petition for cert was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Tenth Circuit previously upheld the application of Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act to a wedding website design company whose owner refused to create websites for same-sex marriages due to religious beliefs.
  • The Third Circuit heard oral arguments in Hilsenrath v. School District of the Chathams. A New Jersey federal district court previously held that the Chathams’ seventh-grade course that contained a presentation about Islam did not violate the Establishment Clause.
  • In Hamilton v. City of New York, a New York federal district court dismissed religious discrimination and failure to provide religious accommodation claims brought by a Jewish firefighter who wore a beard for religious reasons in violation of the FDNY no-beard policy.
  • In Leone v. Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, a New Jersey federal district court ruled against a prosecutor who sought a religious accommodation to work from home indefinitely because his religion requires him to pray aloud throughout each day.
  • In Geerlings v. Tredyffrin/Easttownn School District, a Pennsylvania federal district court refused to issue a preliminary injunction sought by the parents of four students who claimed that the students are entitled to religious exemptions from a school district’s COVID-19 mask requirement. The court found that the plaintiffs did not demonstrate a sincere religious belief.
  • England’s Court of Appeal held that a Christian foster care agency violated the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998 when it prohibited clients from placing children with individuals who were in same-sex relationships.

Around the Web

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

  • In New Hope Family Services v. James, a faith-based family services agency that declines to place children for adoption with unmarried or same-sex couples, filed suit in federal district court in New York, seeking to prevent enforcement of the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
  • In Crawford v. Trader Joe’s Company, a Christian employee of Trader Joe’s filed suit in federal district court in California because the company refused to provide him a religious exemption from the company’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
  • In Salesian Society v. Mayorkas, a federal district court in the District of Columbia dismissed a suit challenging requirements for special visas for religious workers.
  • In Universal Life Church Monastery v. Clark County, a Nevada federal district court allowed a church to move ahead with its equal protection challenge to the county’s refusal to allow online ministers to solemnize marriages.
  • Two non-Texas residents sued a Texas doctor for performing an abortion in violation of Texas’ “heartbeat law.”
  • The Ukrainian Parliament passed a law banning “antisemitism and its manifestations.” The law prohibits hate speech directed at Jewish people, their property, religious buildings, or communities, and allows victims to claim compensation for material and moral damage.

Legal Spirits Episode 036: Looking Back and Ahead at Law and Religion Cases at the Supreme Court

In this episode, we look at the biggest law and religion case at the Supreme Court last term, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, and the two most significant such cases on the Court’s docket for the new term so far. The first, Carson v. Makin, looks like it could be a major case on the issue of whether the state may distinguish between “status” and “use” in deciding whether to exclude a religious school from its tuition aid programs. The second, Ramirez v. Collier, concerns a RLUIPA challenge to a Texas restriction on what ministers and clergy may do in capital cases in ministering inside the execution chamber. Listen in!

Around the Web

  • The Department of Justice announced that it has filed suit in a Texas federal district court to prevent the state of Texas from enforcing Texas’ “heartbeat” abortion ban.
  • In Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, et al v. Slatery, the Sixth Circuit upheld a federal judge’s decision to block a Tennessee law restricting abortion. The Tennessee law prohibited abortions once a fetal heartbeat was detected and for certain other reasons, such as a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis or the sex or race of the fetus.
  • In Chaaban v. City of Detroit, a Michigan federal court held that corrections officials who forced a Muslim woman to remove her hijab for a booking photograph after her arrest were not entitled to qualified immunity on her free exercise violation claims. 
  • In John Doe I v. Hochul, health care workers in New York are challenging the absence of religious exemptions in New York State’s mandate that all health care workers receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • In St. Michael’s Media v. City of Baltimore, a Catholic group filed suit in federal district court in Maryland against the city of Baltimore for requiring the cancellation of a scheduled prayer rally.
  • In Ramaekers v. Creighton University, four students sued Creighton University, a Jesuit-affiliated school, for denying their request to obtain religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The university currently allows students to request medical exemptions but does not allow exemptions based on religious objections.
  • India’s Supreme Court dismissed a “forced conversion” case against a Catholic priest who organized a group of theology students to sing Christmas carols.

Around the Web

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

  • In Ramirez v. Collier, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order postponing the execution of a Texas inmate who argued that his pastor should be allowed to physically touch him and audibly pray in the execution chamber. The Court agreed to hear the case on its regular docket this Fall.
  • In Billard v. Charlotte Catholic High School, a North Carolina federal district court ruled that the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte violated workplace sex discrimination laws after firing a teacher because of his intention to enter a same-sex marriage. The Catholic Diocese is seeking an appeal alleging that religious organizations have the right to make employment decisions based on religious observance.
  • In College of the Ozarks v. Biden, a Missouri federal district court rejected a Christian university’s request for temporary protection from a new HUD directive on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
  • South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, signed executive order 2021-12, which directs the state Department of Health to create rules banning telemedicine abortions in the state.
  • The governing body of the Church in Wales passed a bill that will allow clergy to hold services designed to bless same-sex civil partnerships or marriages.
  • Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to punish abortion, unanimously annulling several provisions of a law that made abortion a criminal act in Coahuila, a state on the Texas border.

Call for Papers: “Governments’ Legal Responses and Judicial Reactions during a Global Pandemic: Litigating Religious Freedom in the Time of COVID-19”

The Journal of Church and State has announced a call for papers on the following topic:
“Governments’ Legal Responses and Judicial Reactions during a Global Pandemic: Litigating Religious Freedom in the Time of COVID-19.”

Scholars are invited to submit paper proposals that articulate, examine, and analyze judicial reactions to governments’ responses to the pandemic in different jurisdictions. Papers are expected to use state restrictive measures, international and domestic case law and church documents to support arguments.

Proposals must be submitted by November 20th, 2021. For more information and to submit a proposal, visit this link.

Around the Web

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

  • In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block Texas’ “heartbeat” law while its constitutionality is being litigated. The “heartbeat” law bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected by a physician.
  • In Dahl v. Board of Trustees of Western Michigan University, a Michigan federal district court issued a temporary order requiring the University to grant religious exemptions from its COVID-19 vaccine requirement to four members of the women’s soccer team.
  • In Zinman v. Nova Southeastern University, a Florida federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing a suit by a student against his law school challenging the COVID-19 mask mandates on religious grounds.
  • In Louden County School Board v. Cross, the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the reinstatement of a teacher who had been suspended for speaking out against a school’s proposed requirement that staff use students’ chosen names and gender pronouns. The teacher had objected to the policy for religious reasons.
  • A proposed North Carolina bill would require hospitals to allow clergy to visit patients even during a declared emergency.
  • The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized a $400,000 payment to settle a legal battle with Grace Community Church over the county’s ban on indoor worship.