A blow-by-blow account of the Trinity Lutheran arguments

512px-USSupremeCourtWestFacadeThe London Economist, of all sources, has published a description of the arguments in the Supreme Court in the case of Trinity Lutheran Church vs. Pauley (and the State of Missouri).

The report said that the argument seemed to go in the church’s favor, with even liberal justices expressing skepticism about the state of Missouri’s reasoning in refusing to allow the church to participate in a grant for shredded tires to use for  playground padding for its preschool.

The justices asked the state’s attorney if providing a church police and fire protection would also violate its church-state separation law.  The attorney reportedly couldn’t come up with a good answer.

The new guy on the court, Justice Gorsuch, also seemed sympathetic to the LCMS institution.

Read the description of the arguments after the jump.

Photo of Supreme Court building by UpstateNYer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Our superlegislature

Supreme_Court_of_the_United_StatesNeil Gorsuch was sworn in, informally, and has joined the Supreme Court.  A more ceremonial swearing in will take place later.  But he is already on the job, in time to hear some important cases.

In a column on the “nuclear option,” Charles Krauthammer observes that the Supreme Court has been turned into a “superlegislature.”  Liberals especially are looking to the court to achieve their political ends.

Liberal judicial theory says that the courts should honor “evolving social norms.”  But surely, Krauthammer says, elected representatives are in a better position to reflect evolving social norms.  Constitutionally, the judicial branch should instead be keeping all of these evolving social norms within the parameters of the Constitution. [Read more…]

“An intellectual superstar”

Robert_P._George_in_2014Princeton’s Robert P. George is one of our most prominent conservative thinkers, so it’s interesting to see what he has to say about President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

George, who has worked with Gorsuch, calls him a worthy successor to Justice Scalia. Gorsuch, he says, is an “intellectual superstar.” [Read more…]

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

Neil_Gorsuch_10th_CircuitPresident Donald Trump has nominated Colorado appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Antonin Scalia.  Reportedly, Judge Gorsuch is from that same mold:  eloquent, learned, articulate, and an “originalist” when it comes to interpreting the Constitution.

He is the author of a book against euthanasia and supported Hobby Lobby in its suit against the Obamacare birth control mandate.  An Anglican, he would be the only Protestant on the bench, joining the 5 Catholics and 3 Jews currently serving.  He is only 49, which means he would be on the court for a good long time.

Democrats began planning their opposition tactics before they even knew who was the nominee.  Some are urging that that Senate Democrats filibuster the nomination.  Republicans are saying that if that happens, they would take the “nuclear option” of voting to change the rules to limit filibusters, changing the Senate’s time-honored tradition of unlimited debate. [Read more…]

The Lutheran pre-school before the Supreme Court

Once again, a congregation of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is appearing before the Supreme Court in a religious liberty case.  First there was Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran Church successfully arguing that it should be able to define who its ministers are, without being subject to discrimination complaints.  Now, as we blogged about. Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, is arguing that its preschool should have not been denied a state grant to make its playground safer just because it is a religious institution.

There is a good story about the background of the Trinity pre-school case in the Kansas City Star, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]

Christian pharmacists must stock abortifacients

A Christian-owned pharmacy chain refuses to stock “emergency contraception” drugs on the grounds that they cause abortion.  The state of Washington wants to compel the chain to carry the drugs, even though that would violate the owner’s religious beliefs.  The case would seem to be similar to that of Hobby Lobby, which won a ruling from the Supreme Court allowing it to opt out of Obamacare requirements.  But this time the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.  The pharmacies will have to sell the products.

In addition to the pro-life and religious liberty issues, I would think there would be business liberty issues.  Should the government really be able to mandate what products a retailer has to stock? [Read more…]