Monday, May 07, 2018

Church Testimony To Liquor Board Did Not Violate Establishment Clause

In Clarke v. Goodson, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74419 (MD AL, May 1, 2018), and Alabama federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing an Establishment Clause challenge to Pike County, Alabama's denial to plaintiffs of a license for the sale of beer and wine at their restaurant.  Plaintiffs contended that it was a violation of the Establishment Clause for the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to allow officials of a nearby church to testify in opposition to granting of the license.
[T]he law is settled that the "protect[ion] of churches and schools from disruption associated with liquor serving establishments" is a valid secular purpose.... Moreover, ... the Defendants' conduct would arguably have violated the Establishment Clause, if the Defendants had refused to allow citizens to speak in opposition to the Plaintiff's application on the basis of those individuals' affiliation with the church.