Friday, February 17, 2017

SCOTUS Sets Oral Arguments In Trinity Lutheran Case For April 19

The U.S. Supreme Court has set oral argument in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley for April 19. (Argument calendar.) In the case, the 8th Circuit rejected arguments that Missouri's Blaine Amendments violate the U.S. Constitution's 1st and 14th Amendments. At issue was the denial by Missouri's Department of Natural Resources of a grant application by Trinity Church for a Playground Scrap Tire Surface Material Grant that would have allowed it to resurface a playground at its day care and preschool facility on church premises. (See prior posting.)  The Court granted certiorari in the case over a year ago.  The delay in setting the case for oral argument has led to speculation that the Justices were hoping to hold off hearing the case until a replacement for the late Justice Scalia brought the Court up to its full complement. They may have succeeded since, as reported by The Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee has now set March 20 as the date for hearings on Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to begin. SCOTUSblog's case page has links to all the briefs filed in the case and to commentary on the case.