Friday, May 05, 2017

FFRF Sues To Enjoin Executive Order's Directions On Johnson Amendment

Yesterday the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit in a Wisconsin federal district court challenging President Trump's Executive Order on Free Speech and Religious Liberty.  The complaint (full text) in Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Trump, (WD WI, filed 5/4/2017) seeks an order declaring that the Executive Order violates the Establishment Clause and the equal protection element of the 5th Amendment by providing preferential treatment to churches, and that it exceeds the President's powers under Article II. The complaint also asks for an injunction preventing the Commissioner of Internal Revenue from implementing the Executive Order. The complaint quotes at length Presidential statements, particularly to Evangelical Christian audiences, promising to overturn the Johnson Amendment, and then contends:
The EO, with the President’s annotated interpretation and construction, makes clear that a relaxed and differential standard of enforcement of § 501(c)(3)’ electioneering restrictions shall be applied to churches and religious officials.
An FFRF press release announced the filing of the lawsuit. The suit came as the ACLU announced it would not sue over the Executive Order. (See prior posting).  [Thanks to Norman Buck for the lead.]