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Archive for the tag “ACA”

Student’s Complaint Over Expulsion From Catholic High School Dismissed Under Ecclesiastical Abstention Doctrine

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In In re St. Thomas High School, (TX App., May 1, 2016), a Texas state appellate court held that the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine requires dismissal of a breach of contract lawsuit against a Catholic high school brought by a 16-year old student who was expelled and by his parents. The expulsion came after the parents sent the school a letter about the handling of a grade dispute.  The letter complained that the teacher involved had not called the parents as they had requested.  It alleged that when the teacher told the student the reason for failing to call– he was too busy preparing for a romantic night with his wife to celebrate their wedding anniversary– that this amounted to engaging in a discussion with the student “in a sexually harassing fashion.”

The school concluded that the false accusations of sexual harassment against the teacher, made it impossible for other teachers to teach the student without fear of similar charges. The court said in part:

we conclude that St. Thomas’s status as a Catholic high school does not place it outside the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine’s reach. No less than a Catholic church, St. Thomas is a religious institution enjoying First Amendment protection for the free exercise of religion….

This record belies any contention that spiritual standards and religious doctrine play no role in the parties’ dispute. Plaintiffs expressly relied on the Catholic nature of a St. Thomas education to justify their demands….  In addition … this record also demonstrates impermissible interference with St. Thomas’s management of its internal affairs and encroachment upon its internal governance.

You can learn more about this issue here.

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4th Circuit Hears Oral Arguments In Graduation Prayer and Venue Case

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

On Tuesday, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in American Humanist Association v. Greenville County School District. (Audio of full oral arguments.) At issue was the graduation ceremony prayer policy of the Greenville County, South Carolina school district, as well as its practice of holding some graduation ceremonies at a religious chapel on a local college campus. (See prior posting.) Greenville News reports on the oral arguments.

You can learn more about this issue here.

Ecclesiastical Abstention Requires Dismissal of Suit Over Sikh Temple Membership

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In Singh v. Sandhar(TX App., May 10, 2016), a Texas appellate court, on the basis of the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine, dismissed a suit contesting the membership list that was used by a Sikh temple in determining who was eligible to vote in an election to select members of the temple’s 7-member executive committee known as the Prabandhak Committee. The court held:

The temple’s alleged failure to follow its bylaws on a matter of internal governance involves ecclesiastical concerns, and civil courts may not interfere in these matters when disposition of church property is not at stake.

You can learn more about this issue here.

The Citadel Refuses Religious Accommodation In Uniform Requirement

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

Washington Post reported yesterday on a controversial decision by The Citadel to refuse a religious accommodation to its strict student uniform requirement.  The South Carolina public military college will not allow a Muslim student who has been admitted to wear her hijab. According to the paper:

[T]he fact that [the school] was considering an exception … set off shock waves among alumni. The idea pleased some in the close-knit corps, who felt it could be an important symbol of religious freedom and inclusiveness. But it upset others who felt it would clash with the mission and ideals of the Citadel, where loyalty, teamwork and uniformity are paramount.

At the Citadel, students are expected to leave behind their individuality … and form opinions based on character rather than appearance. Allowing one student to wear something completely different struck many as antithetical to that mission. And some objected, as well, because exceptions have apparently not ever been made for other religions. Christian cadets have been told not to display crosses, for example.

That the exception was being considered at a time when the role of Islam in U.S. culture is so polarizing …  made the issue particularly incendiary far beyond the Charleston, S.C., campus.

You can learn more about this issue here.

Lawsuit Challenges Mississippi’s New Freedom of Conscience Law

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

ACLU of Mississippi announced yesterday that it has filed suit against the state’s Registrar of Vital Records on its own behalf and on behalf of a same-sex couple challenging recently enacted Mississippi H.B. 1523, the Freedom of Conscience From Government Discrimination Act.  While the Act broadly protects various actions of government and private businesses based on religious or moral beliefs that marriage is a union of one man and one woman, that sexual relations should be reserved to heterosexual marriage, or that gender is an immutable characteristic determined at birth (see prior posting), the lawsuit largely focuses on provisions allowing county clerks to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licences. The complaint (full text) in Alford v. Moulder, (SD MS, filed 5/9/2016) seeks declaratory and injunctive relief that the law violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment.  It argues that the requirement for the Registrar of Vital Records to keep a list of those who have opted out of performing same-sex marriages amounts to creation of a “no-same-sex couples allowed” list.  Alluding to the other provisions of the law, the complaint adds:

HB 1325 subjects same-sex married couples in Mississippi to a lifetime of potentially humiliating denials of ordinary assistance and places a badge of inferiority upon their marriages each time they celebrate one of the ordinary incidents of family life.

You can learn more about this issue here.

 

Suit Challenges 25-Foot Cross In Florida Park

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

The American Humanist Association yesterday announced the filing of a federal court lawsuit against the city of Pensacola, Florida to challenge the city’s ownership, maintenance and display of a 25-foot tall Christian cross that stands alone in the city’s Bayview Park.  The complaint (full text) in Kondrat’yev v. City of Pensacola, Florida, (ND FL, filed 5/4/2016) says that the history of the cross is uncertain, but it is used solely for Christian Easter sunrise services each year. The cross was placed in the park sometime between 1951 and 1965, probably by the Jaycees. Easter services in the park pre-date the erection of the cross there. The lawsuit seeks an injunction ordering removal of the cross from government property.

You can learn more about this issue here.

6th Circuit: Remaining Convictions In Amish Beard-Cutting Case Stand

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In United States v. Mullet, (6th Cir., May 4, 2016), the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed convictions of 15 members of the Bergholz, Ohio Amish community on charges of conspiracy, concealing evidence and lying to the FBI.  The convictions grew out of hair and beard-cutting attacks by one faction of the Amish community against other Amish. Originally defendants had also been convicted of hate crimes, but those convictions were reversed in an earlier appeal due to faulty jury instructions. The government chose not to retry defendants on those charges. (See prior posting.)  In yesterday’s decision, the 6th Circuit held that because the challenges raised to the remaining convictions were not raised in the first appeal, they cannot be raised now.  The court also rejected various challenges to the sentences imposed by the trial court.  Reuters reports on the decision.

You can learn more about this issue here.

Muslim Woman Sues Long Beach Police Over Forced Removal of Hijab

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“A suit was filed last week in federal district court in California against the city of Long Beach and its police by a Muslim woman who says that her hijab (headscarf) was forcefully removed while she was being booked by police and held overnight in jail on outstanding warrant charges.  The complaint (full text) in Powell v. City of Long Beach, (ED CA, filed 4/29/2016), alleges that police policy violates RLUIPA, the 1st Amendment and the California constitution.  It seeks damages and an injunction requiring a change in policy so that the police department accommodates religious head wear of those being booked into police custody.  The suit also seeks to enjoin the public release of plaintiff’s booking photo which shows her with her head uncovered. LA List reports on the lawsuit.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

5th Circuit: Texas Prisons’ Grooming and Headwear Policies Violate RLUIPA

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“Reflecting the approach taken last year by the U.S. Supreme Court in Holt v. Hobbs (see prior posting), yesterday the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Ali v. Stephens(5th Cir., May 2, 2016) held that the Texas prison system’s grooming and headwear policies violate a Muslim inmate’s rights under RLUIPA.  The court affirmed the trial court’s grant of declaratory and injuctive relief to allow an observant Muslim inmate to grow a 4-inch beard and wear his kufi throughout the prison facility.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

Cert. Denied In Challenge To Alabama Prisoner Grooming Restrictions

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday denied review in Knight v. Thompson, (Docket No. 15-999, cert. denied 5/2/2016). (Order List.) In the case, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Alabama prison system’s grooming requirement that prohibited Native American inmates from wearing long hair, even for religious reasons. (See prior posting.) AP reports on the denial of certiorari.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

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