Monday, November 24, 2008

Heritage on Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty

Thomas Messner has prepared a Heritage Foundation "Backgrounder" entitled "Same-Sex Marriage and the Threat to Religious Liberty."

The paper is thorough and well-done. Recommended reading.

Prof. Garnett on "Excluding Religion"

Professor Rick Garnett of Notre Dame has prepared a critical response to "Excluding Religion," an article in which Professor Nelson Tebbe argues that government may sometimes selectively exclude religion from its support programs.

One of the CLS Center's primary objectives is to establish that the Constitution generally forbids governments (especially state governments relying upon "Blaine Amendments") from selectively excluding religion from social service and education support programs. We welcome Prof. Garnett's contribution to the scholarly literature on this subject.

Friday, November 21, 2008

University of Iowa Restores Funding of CLS Chapter

On October 22, the University of Iowa rescinded its earlier decision to revoke the funding of the law school's Christian Legal Society chapter.

On or about September 25, 2008, the CLS chapter submitted a request for funding to the Student Assembly Budgeting & Allocating Committee. The Committee rejected the chapter's funding request based on the notion that the chapter commits "religious discrimination" by drawing its leaders and voting members from among those who voluntarily embrace the CLS Statement of Faith.

On October 20, Center Litigation Counsel Casey Mattox sent a letter to the university's general counsel. On October 22, the Committee informed chapter representatives that the general counsel had instructed them not to deny the chapter funding based upon the Statement of Faith requirement.

Iowa attorney L. Craig Nierman assisted the Center.

Potential AG Eric Holder and Religion

Professor Howard Friedman at the Religion Clause Blog indicates that reported Attorney General choice Eric Holder doesn't have much of a record on religious freedom issues.

Center Secures Teacher Participation in "See You at the Pole"

On November 20, the Carlisle Area School District (PA) rescinded an earlier decision to forbid teachers from being present at "See You at the Pole" activities. The Center assisted teachers adversely affected by the previous decision.

During the week of September 22, district officials declared that teachers could not be present at this year's SYATP event. An affected teacher contacted the CLS Center, and Litigation Counsel Tim Tracey communicated with the school district on her behalf. As a result of his efforts, the teacher was permitted to participate in this year's event, but the restrictive policy remained in place.

Tim subsequently made a presentation at a school board meeting and wrote a demand letter to the school district on behalf of the teachers whose religious freedom would be affected by the policy. The school board adopted a new policy allowing teachers to participate as long as they issue a verbal disclaimer, indicating that their presence is in their individual capacities. Media coverage is here, here and here.

Center attorneys were assisted by the law firm of Boyle, Neblett & Wenger.