Around the Web

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

  • In Carson v. Makin, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Maine’s tuition program, which pays tuition to out-of-district public or private high schools for students whose districts do not operate a high school, but which requires participating schools to be nonsectarian, violates the Free Exercise Clause. 
  • In Arkansas Times LP v. Waldrip, the Eighth Circuit upheld Arkansas’ law requiring public contracts to include a certification from the contractor that it will not boycott Israel. 
  • In In re Marriage of Olsen, a Colorado state appellate court held that the district court erred by considering a wife’s religious belief that pre-embryos are human lives when settling a dispute between a husband and wife over the disposition of their cryogenically frozen pre-embryos after their divorce. 
  • In Catholic Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi v. DeLange, the Mississippi Supreme Court held that the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine prevents Mississippi courts from adjudicating wrongful termination, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims brought by the former finance officer of the diocese. 
  • South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has signed H4776, the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act. The new law provides, in part, that religiously objecting medical practitioners, healthcare institutions, and healthcare payers have the right not to participate in or pay for any health care service which violates the practitioner’s or entity’s conscience. 
  • In Yalçin v. Turkey, the European Court of Human Rights, in a Chamber Judgment, held that Turkey violated Article 9 (freedom of religion and belief) of the European Convention on Human Rights by refusing to make a room available for congregational Muslim Friday prayers at a high-security prison. 
  • France’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, held that the city of Grenoble cannot permit Muslim women to wear the full-length “burkini” bathing suit in its municipal swimming pools. The court stated that doing so would compromise principles of religious neutrality and “the equal treatment of users.” 

Hintze on Mandatory Influenza Vaccinations for Healthcare Employees and Religious Exemptions

Drew D. Hintze (Martinez Law Group, P.C., Denver) has posted Mandatory Influenza Vaccination Policies in Colorado: Are Healthcare Employees with Religious Conflicts Exempt? The abstract follows.

Colorado is attempting to reduce the spread of influenza in healthcare facilities from healthcare personnel to patients.  Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment (“CDPHE”) and the Colorado Hospital Association (“CHA”) have each approved initiatives endorsing the need for healthcare organizations in the state to develop influenza vaccination policies to increase vaccination coverage among healthcare personnel.  As mandatory influenza vaccinations become more commonplace in healthcare organizations nationwide, concerns have arisen regarding the circumstances in which a healthcare worker may seek an exemption to an employer-mandated immunization.  This article discusses mandatory influenza vaccination policies in Colorado and the legal issues healthcare employers should consider when an employee seeks an exemption from an influenza vaccination based on religious beliefs.