Monday, October 20, 2014

Malaysian State Says It Will Enforce Mosque Attendance Law

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) issued a statement today opposing the announced plans of the government of the Malaysian state of Kelatan to enforce a provision of a 1994 law that criminalizes the failure of Muslim men to go for Friday prayers in the local mosque three times in a row. Section 104 of Enakmen Majlis Agama Islam dan Adat Istiadat Melayu Kelantan 1994 (Enactment of Religious and Malay Customs--Kelatan 1994) imposes a fine equivalent to $305 (US) and up to one year in prison for violation of the requirement. According to LFL the law violates Malaysia's Constitution:
The provision would be in serious breach of article 5 on liberty of the person; article 8 on equal protection of the law; article 9 on prohibition on freedom of movement; and arguably article 11 on freedom of religion.
From SSRN:
From SmartCILP:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Carter v. Davis, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148037 (ED VA, Oct. 16, 2014), a Virginia federal district court dismissed, with leave to amend, an inmate's complaint that he was removed from the Common Fare diet which made it impossible for him to have access to kosher food.

In Mallory v. Commissary Store at GBDF, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148189 (SD CA, Oct. 16, 2014), a California federal district court dismissed with leave to amend an inmate's claim over lack of kosher hygiene or cosmetic products.

Pakistan Appeals Court Upholds Christian Woman's Death Sentence For Blasphemy

In Pakistan on Thursday, in a high-profile case a 2-judge panel of the High Court in Lahore upheld the death sentence on blasphemy charges that had been imposed in 2010 on a Christian woman, Asia Bibi.  Morning Star News and World Watch Monitor carry extensive reports on the decision. The charges against Bibi (who is also known as Aasiya Noreen) grew out of her alleged response to Muslim co-workers in a berry field who told her to convert to Islam after one of the workers insisted that Bibi had made the water she brought to them impure by touching it. An appeal to the Supreme Court is planned, but it will probably not be heard for at least three years.  Death sentences are rarely actually carried out in blasphemy cases in Pakistan, though the accused and their lawyers are often victims of vigilante violence.  Concern continues over Bibi's safety even as she is held in prison. In 2011, Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab province, was assassinated by one of his own security guards who was angered by Taseer's support for a pardon for Bibi. (See prior posting.)

Court Orders Minister To Return Church Keys, Mercedes and Stay Away From Church Premises

On Thursday, an Alabama state trial court issued a preliminary injunction ordering Rev. Juan McFarland to turn over his church keys to the deacons and trustees of Montgomery's Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church that he led for 24 years. He was also ordered to return the Mercedes furnished to him by the church and to stay away from the church. AP reports that lay laders of the church filed the lawsuit against McFarland after the congregation voted in a contentious meeting to fire the minister, but he refused to leave.  He continued preaching, changed the church locks, took control of its bank accounts and attempted to fire longtime church officials.  The congregation's action was triggered by a series of sermons McFarland delivered in August and September in which he confessed to having sex with married church members in the church building, not telling his sex partners that he has AIDS, and using illegal drugs. He said God commanded him to make the publc confession.  A court  hearing on a permanent injunction is scheduled for Dec. 1.

Nigerian Court Upholds Ban On Head Scarves In Public Schools

According to AFP, in Nigeria on Friday a judge on the High Court in Lagos upheld the Lagos State government's ban on wearing of the hijab (Muslim head scarf) in public schools. In upholding the ban introduced last year, the court said in part:
The ban on the use of hijab in public schools in Lagos is not a breach of the applicants' fundamental rights to religion because Nigeria as a secular state does not adopt any religion as a state religion.
Removing the ban on the hijab will be tantamount to promoting a particular religion against the others and this may lead to social tensions.
The  Muslim Students Society of Nigeria which brought the challenge says it will appeal.

Black Separatist Religious Group Wins Right To Demonstrate Outide of Mall

In Liberty Place Retail Associates, L.P., v. Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge, (PA Super. Ct., Oct. 14, 2014),  a 3-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed a trial court's denial of a permanent injunction to prevent a Hebrew Israelite religious organization from holding demonstrations on a public sidewalk outside a Philadelphia Center City shopping mall. At issue are hate-filled Black-separatist demonstrations held on a weekly basis. The court rejected the shopping mall's trespass and private nuisance claims. Philadelphia Daily News reports on the decision.

New Acting Head of DOJ Civil Rights Division Appointed

The Justice Department announced last Wednesday that beginning tomorrow Vanita Gupta will serve as Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. She succeeds Molly Moran who will become Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General. A New York Times editorial on Friday praised the Gupta appointment and said that the President has indicated he plans to send her name to the Senate as a nominee for the position on a permanent basis. Gupta comes to the Justice Department from the ACLU where she serves as its deputy legal director and has worked actively on criminal justice reform. She is well-liked by many conservatives as well as by liberals.  Last March the U.S. Senate rejected Debo Adegbile, President Obama's previous nominee for the permanent position of Assistant Attorney General to head the Civil Rights Division. (See prior posting.)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Houston Narrows Subpoenas, But Pastors Say Not Enough

The city of Houston, Texas announced yesterday that it has filed narrowed subpoenas against five pastors in a lawsuit against it challenging rejection of referendum petition signatures.  At issue is an attempt by opponents of the city's Equal Rights Ordinance to obtain its repeal.  Much of the opposition-- particularly to provisions on transgender rights-- was led by clergy. Originally the city issued broad subpoenas calling for all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to the Ordinance or issues surrounding it. (See prior posting.) The new subpoenas omit any reference to sermons, but still seek information from 5 pastors who were leaders in the referendum petition drive on the petition gathering process. According to Mayor Annise Parker:
This is not about what they may be preaching from the pulpit.  It is about proving that the petition gathering process organized by these pastors did not meet the requirements of the City Charter.  This information is critical to proving the city’s contention that the petition was ineligible for placement on the ballot and that the organizers knew this.
Alliance Defending Freedom (representing the pastors) still objects to the narrowed subpoenas, stating in a press release:
The city of Houston still doesn’t get it. It thinks that by changing nothing in its subpoenas other than to remove the word ‘sermons’ that it has solved the problem. That solves nothing. Even though the pastors are not parties in this lawsuit, the subpoenas still demand from them 17 different categories of information – information that encompasses speeches made by the pastors and private communications with their church members. As we have stated many times, the problem is the subpoenas themselves; they must be rescinded entirely. The city must respect the First Amendment and abandon its illegitimate mission to invade the private communications of pastors for the purpose of strong-arming them into silence in a lawsuit that concerns nothing more than the authenticity of citizen petitions.

Kansas Diocese Settles 30 Abuse Cases On Eve of Jury Deliberations

Last Tuesday, just as the jury was about to begin deliberations after an 11-day trial in one case, the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph agreed to settle 30 claims of priest sexual abuse for $9.95 million.  The Kansas City Star reports that these are all claims filed since 2010 alleging alleging abuse by 13 current or former priests taking place 20 or more years ago.

German State's Parliament Votes To Eliminate Mention of God From Constitution; Catholics Seek Reconsideration

Religion News Service reported earlier this week that in the German state of  Schleswig-Holstein, Catholics are trying to get Parliament to reverse its vote last week to exclude the mention of God from the Preamble of the new Constituiton that Parliament is drafting. In order to obtain reconsideration of the decision that passed by a two-thirds majority, proponents must obtain 20,000 signatures.  Six other of the 16 German states have already eliminated the mention of God from their state constitutions.

Canada's Supreme Court Hears Challenge To City Council Invocations

On Oct. 14, the Supreme Court of Canada heard oral arguments in Mouvement laïque québécois v. City of Saguenay. In the case (summary), appellants claim that the opening of Saguenay, Quebec's municipal council meetings with a prayer, and the presence of Christian religious symbols in council chambers, violate the provision of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that guarantee freedom of conscience and religion. A webcast of the full oral arguments is available from the Court's website. The Globe & Mail reports on the case.

Avalanche of Same-Sex Marriage Legal Developments

In the last several days there has been an avalanche of legal developments relating to same-sex marriages:

Alaska:  Yesterday in Parnell v. Hamby, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order denying a stay of a federal district court's decision striking down Alaska's same-sex marriage ban.

Arizona: in Majors v. Horne,(D AZ, Oct. 17, 2014) and Connolly v. Jeanes, (D AZ, Oct. 17, 2014), an Arizona federal district court in two short and substantially identical opinions struck down Arizona's ban on same-sex marriages, citing the 9th Circuit's decision earlier this month in Latta v. Otter striking down bans in Nevada and Idaho. (See prior posting.) State Attorney General Tom Horne announced he would not appeal and sent a letter to the state's 15 county clerks telling them that they may not deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Arizona Republic reports on developments.

Wyoming: In Guzzo v. Mead, (D WY, Oct. 17, 2014), a Wyoming federal district court granted a preliminary injunction against Wyoming's ban on same-sex marriage and recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.  However the court also granted a stay of its injunction until Oct. 23 to allow an appeal to the 10th Circuit or until an earlier date at which the state informs the court that it will not appeal. Governor Matt Mead's office announced that the state will file a notice with the district court that it will not appeal the decision.

Idaho: Two Christian ministers and their for-profit wedding chapel located across the street from the Kootenai County (Idaho) Clerk’s office (which issues marriage licenses) brought suit in an Idaho federal district court to enjoin the city of Coeur d'Alene from enforcing its anti-discrimination ordinance against them. The 63-page complaint (full text) in Knapp v. City of Coeur d'Alene, (D ID, filed Oct. 17, 2014) contends that the Ordinance violates plaintiffs' 1st and 14th Amendment rights as well as their rights under state law. Plaintiffs also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction.  ADF issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.

North Carolina: In North Carolina, the general counsel of the state's Administrative Office of the Courts on Oct. 14 issued a memo (full text) to judges and magistrates stating that magistrates must perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples who present a license in the same way they do for opposite-sex couples. Refusal to do so could lead to suspension, removal or even criminal charges. In response, on Thursday Rockingham County Magistrate Judge John Kallam who has religious objections to performing same-sex marriages resigned.  Alamance County Judge Jim Roberson, who originally suggested that Magistrates with religious objections be excused from performing same-sex ceremonies, issued a statement yesterday saying that magistrates in his county are required to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples. (Qnotes.)  Time Warner Cable News reported on developments.

Federal Government: On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that the federal government will now recognize same-sex marriages performed in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin for purposes of extending federal benefits. The action came after the Supreme Court refused review of Circuit Court decisions affecting those states. Apparently (though there is some slight ambiguity in DOJ's announcement) the federal government will also recognize same-sex marriages performed in Nevada and Idaho after the Supreme Court refused to stay the 9th Circuit's decision as to those states. (See prior posting.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Prominent D.C. Rabbi Arrested On Voyeurism Charges

The Forward reports that in Washington, DC yesterday, Rabbi Barry Freundel, head of Kesher Israel, one of the city's pre-eminent Modern Orthodox synagogues, was arrested on charges of electronic voyeurism. Apparently Freundel was caught installing a hidden camera above a shower at the synagogue's mikveh (ritual bath) so he could view women showering there. Kesher Israel's board immediately suspended Freundel without pay.  Prominent members of Kesher Israel have included Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and former U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman.

UPDATE: Here is the Criminal Complaint filed in the case.

Virginia Governor Says Same-Sex Married Couples Can Now Adopt

Last week, Virginia's Department of Social Services (at the direction of Governor Terry McAuliffe) issued a Bulletin (full text) to its local offices informing them that court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage mean that now married same-sex couples are eligible to adopt children under Va. Code Sec. 63.2-1225. Same-sex couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships (rather than marriages) are not eligible to adopt. Reporting on the Governor's action, Metro Weekly yesterday said that, according to the ACLU, married same-sex couples with children born before same-sex marriage was legalized on Oct. 6, 2014 should be able to get an amended birth certificate listing both spouses as a legal parent.  A same-sex spouse should now also be able to adopt a spouse's child so long as the child does not have another legal parent.

Pastors Seek To Quash Subpoenas For Sermons, Communications On Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance

Opponents of Houston, Texas' Equal Rights Ordinance enacted in May have sued after the city ruled that they had insufficient signatures on their petitions to get a repeal referendum on the ballot. (See prior posting.) As part of discovery in the lawsuit in state court, the city issued broad subpoenas (full text) to a group of five pastors calling for them to produce, among other items:
All communications with members of your congregation regarding HERO [Houston Equal Rights Ordinance] or the Petition....
All speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.
The pastors last week filed a motion to quash the subpoenas (full text) and a Memorandum in Support of the Motion (full text), arguing that the subpoenas are not "reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible, relevant evidence." In a Statement emphasizing opponents' objections to provisions in the Equal Rights Ordinance relating to transgender access to bathrooms, Alliance Defending Freedom said Monday that the subpoenas are designed to stifle social commentary.  Fox News yesterday reported on developments.

UPDATE: According to KTRH News:
City Attorney David Feldman argues the subpoenas are justified because the churches are where opponents of the ordinance met. "We're certainly entitled to enquire about the communications that took place in the churches regarding the ordinance and the petitions because that's where they chose to do it," Feldman tells KTRH News. "Its relevant to know what representations and instructions were given regarding these petitions," he says. [Thanks to Matthew Crawley for the lead.]

$1.9M Settlement In Suit Over Parole Revocation For Refusal To Attend Religious 12-Step Program

The Redding Record Searchlight reported yesterday that a settlement has been reached in Hazle v. Crowfoot, a suit in which the 9th Circuit held that plaintiff, an atheist whose parole on drug possession charges was revoked after he refused to participate in a faith-based drug treatment program, is entitled to compensatory damages. (See prior posting.) Hazle served over 100 additional days in prison.  Under the settlement agreement, the state of California will pay Hazle $1 million and Westcare California, Inc., the contractor that offered only a faith-based 12-step program for parolees, will pay him $925,000.

"Birther" Sues Obama Claiming Ebola Rules Aid Muslim Terrorism

A rather bizarre lawsuit was filed yesterday in federal district court in the District of Columbia charging President Obama and various federal health officials with acting recklessly in attempting to restrain the Ebola epidemic in order to aid Muslim terrorism and discriminate against Christian and Jewish Caucasian Americans. The suit was brought by Larry Klayman, an activist who has filed hundreds of lawsuits and who has been prominent in the anti-Obama "birther" movement. The complaint (full text) in Klayman v. Obama, (D DC, filed 10/14/2014), alleges seven causes of action ranging from providing material support for terrorists to civil rights claims and conspiracy to commit murder. It alleges that the CDC, at the direction of President Obam, is intentionally lying to the American public about the possibility of airborne transmission of Ebola.  The following excerpt gives a flavor of the allegations in the wide-ranging complaint:
Defendants actions in exposing Plaintiff to the Ebola virus as well as other Americans is the direct result of discrimination against Plaintiff on the basis of his Caucasian race and Jewish-Christian religion and in favor of people of the African-Black race and the Islamic religion.... Defendant Obama ... values an African-Black and Muslim life more than he does the lives of persons from the Caucasion or other races and religions, and this is reflected in his and the other Defendants’ actions with regard to allowing past and continued entry of persons from Ebola stricken Liberia and the rest of West Africa into the United States, despite the likelihood of an epidemic occurring.
Washington Post reports on the lawsuit.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Supreme Court Temporarily Stays Texas Abortion Clinic Restrictions

The U.S. Supreme Court this evening issued an Order (full text) in Whole Women's Health v. Lakey preventing portions of Texas' new regulation of abortion clinics from taking effect while a challenge to them is pending in the 5th Circuit. The 5th Circuit (full text of decision) had stayed the district court's injunction against enforcement of certain of the law's provision. As reported by SCOTUSblog, under the Supreme Court's ruling:
The state may not now enforce a requirement that all clinics in the state upgrade their facilities to be hospital-like surgical centers, even when they perform abortions only through the use of drugs, not surgery.  And it may not enforce, against the clinics in McAllen and El Paso, a requirement that all doctors performing abortions have privileges to admit patients to a hospital within thirty miles of the clinic.  That requirement can continue to be enforced elsewhere in Texas, the Court indicated.
Those two provisions, together, had reduced the number of clinics still operating in the state to seven, with an eighth soon to open.  At one time recently, Texas had forty-one clinics.  The Supreme Court’s action Tuesday will allow the reopening of thirteen closed clinics on Wednesday, lawyers for the clinics said.
Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito dissented.

Sukkah At High School Rejected After Other Jewish Students Raise Church-State Complaints

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Sunday on a new permutation in the battle over religious symbols in public schools. Last year, Jewish students at Glendale's Nicolet High School put up a temporary sukkah in the school's courtyard to mark the Jewish fall harvest festival of Sukkot.  This year the activity was moved to a private home nearby after other Jewish students, through the Milwaukee Jewish Community Relations Council, complained that the sukkah on school grounds would violate principles of church-state separation.

9th Circuit Says Same-Sex Marriages Can Go Ahead In Idaho

In what could be the final procedural step in the challenge to Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday issued an order dissolving its prior stay of its decision invalidating the Idaho ban.  According to KVPI News, the court's order provides that the lifting of the stay is effective at 10 a.m. tomorrow, at which time same-sex marriages will be legal in the state.

North Carolina Supreme Court Allows Direct Appeal of School Voucher Program

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that on Friday the North Carolina Supreme Court decided to allow a direct appeal of a trial court decision striking down the state's school voucher program. In August, trial court judge Robert Hobgood held that the state's Opportunity Scholarship Program violates various provisions of the state constitution relating to school funding and permits funds to go to private schools that discriminate on the basis of religion. (See prior posting.) Friday's ruling allows the parties to skip the usual appeal to an intermediate appellate court.  The North Carolina court of appeals has already allowed the voucher program to continue to partially operate while appeals are pending. (See prior posting.)

Minnesota Archdiocese Enters Historic Settlement In Clergy Abuse Case

As reported by AP, yesterday a settlement considered as historic by both sides was reached in a clergy sex abuse case, Doe 1 v. Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. As part of the settlement, the Archdiocese adopted 17 Child Protection Protocols. The Diocese of Winona adopted similar Protocols. In a Statement announcing the agreement, Archbishop John Nienstedt emphasized:
The agreement embodies a strengthened spirit of collaboration in addressing the issues related to clerical sexual abuse.
In a separate Statement, defense attorney Jeff Anderson, said:
This child protection protocol, invested in by Doe 1, survivors and the Archdiocese, signals a new day and a new way for protection of children, healing of survivors, and full transparency and disclosure in a new way we’ve never seen.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Notre Dame Asks For Supreme Court GVR In Contraceptive Coverage Challenge

On Oct. 3, a petition for certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in University of Notre Dame v. Burwell, (Docket No. 14-392). In the case, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a preliminary injunction to Notre Dame in its challenge to the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate as applied to religious non-profits. (See prior posting.) As reported by MSNBC, the petition does not seek full Supreme Court review, but instead asks the Court to grant certiorari, vacate the 7th Circuit's decision and remand for reconsideration ("GVR") in light of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. In the petition, Notre Dame argued:
Just as a Mormon might refuse to hire a caterer that insisted on serving alcohol to his wedding guests, or a Jew might refuse to hire a caterer determined to serve pork at his son’s bar mitzvah, it violates Notre Dame’s religious beliefs to hire or maintain a relationship with any third party that will provide contraceptive coverage to its plan beneficiaries,

Churches File Complaint With HHS Over California Abortion Coverage Requirement

Following up on a similar complaint filed last month on behalf employees of Loyola Marymount University (see prior posting), two advocacy groups filed a complaint (full text) last week with the Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of seven churches and a church-run school objecting to recent California actions requiring all group health plans to cover elective abortions. The complaint contends that the churches' health plans were changed without their consent to comply with the California Department of Managed Health Care's directive interpreting the scope of "basic health care services."  The churches argue that the California requirement violates the federal Hyde-Weldon Conscience Protection Amendment (Sec. 507 of the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act) that prohibits states from discriminating against a health care entity because it does not provide abortion coverage. They say that denying approval of their plans that do not cover abortions amounts to illegal discrimination. Alliance Defending Freedom issued a press release announcing the filing of the Oct. 9 complaint.

Recent Articles and Podcast of Interest

From SSRN:
Non-U.S. Law (from SSRN):
From SmartCILP:
  • Sharia Law: From Oman to Oklahoma. Articles by Moorthy S. Muthuswamy, Sameer Ahmed, Mervate Mohammad, David R. Lavoie, Umar F. Moghul and student Emily von Werlhof. 7 Albany Government Law Review 347-507 (2014).
Recent Podcast:

Same-Sex Marriage Developments In Kansas, West Virginia, Alaska

Developments relating to same-sex marriages have been moving rapidly in Kansas.  Last Wednesday, Chief Judge Kevin Moriarty of the state's 10th judicial district (Johnson County) issued Administrative Order No. 14-11 (Oct. 8, 2014), instructing the clerk of the court, as well as all deputy clerks, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, on Friday (Oct. 10) Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a petition (full text) for issuance of a writ of mandamus to stop the Johnson County order from taking effect, and asking the Kansas Supreme Court to decide the issue. (Press releaseMemorandum in Support of Petition). Before the state Supreme Court could act, one same-sex couple in Johnson County were married. (Kansas Equality Coalition statement.) However a few hours later, in State of Kansas v. Moriarty, (KA Sup. Ct., Oct. 10, 2014), the state Supreme Court issued a stay of Judge Moriary's order "in the interest of establishing statewide consistency." It set oral arguments for Nov. 6, but said that applications for same-sex marriage licenses may continue to be accepted. As pointed out by KCTV 5 News, the November hearing date is two days after the general election.

Meanwhile in West Virginia, on Thursday (Oct. 9) state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a statement (full text) saying in part:
In the upcoming days, we will now seek to bring to a close the pending litigation over West Virginia’s marriage laws, consistent with the Fourth Circuit’s now-binding decision.... [However] only the State Registrar may alter state marriage forms, and the Secretary of State’s Office has authority over marriage celebrants and their ability to solemnize marriages.  While we will take steps to seek to end the litigation, the conclusion of the lawsuit cannot and will not alone effectuate the Fourth Circuit’s mandate.
AP reports that after the Attorney General's statement, State Registrar Gary Thompson sent a letter to clerks in all 55 West Virginia counties setting out new protocols for marriage licenses allowing for same-sex marriages. At least one couple was issued a license on Friday.

And in Alaska yesterday, a federal court declared its ban on same-sex marriages to be in violation of the 14th Amendment's due process and equal protection clauses.  As reported by Think Progress, the decision in Hamby v. Parnell(D AK, Oct. 12, 2014), came just two days after the court heard oral arguments in the case. However, according to KTUU News, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell issued a statement Sunday saying that he would appeal the decision.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Withdrawal of Land From Uranium Mining Survives Establishment Clause Challenge

In Yount v. Salazar, (D AZ, Sept. 30, 2014), an Arizona federal district court held that the Secretary of Interior's withdrawal of more than 1 million acres of federal land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park from uuanium mining did not violate the Establishment Clause. While one of the government's purposes was "to protect against the impact of uranium mining on cultural and tribal resources," this was a proper secular purpose.

1999 E-Mail Urged Clinton To Invoke Talmudic Law As Lewinsky Defense

The New York Post  reported yesterday that among the final 10,000 documents released by the Clinton presidential library on Friday was a 1999 e-mail-- that eventually found its way to White House adviser Sidney Blumenthal-- urging Clinton to rely on the Jewish law definition of adultery in defending against charges growing out of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. The e-mail that originated with a Long Island woman, who sent on an analysis of Talmudic law developed by Dartmouth Jewish Studies professor Susannah Heschel, read in part:
According to classical Jewish law, President Clinton did not commit adultery; adultery is defined as a married man having intercourse with a married woman, and Monica Lewinsky is single,

Recent Prisoner Free Exercise Cases

In Elizondo v. Livingston, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141413 (ND T, Oct. 3, 2014), a Texas federal district court dismissed an inmate's complaint that for safety purposes he needed to be single celled or celled with someone of his same Jewish faith.

In Storm v. Reinke, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141472 (D ID, Sept. 29, 2014). an Idaho federal district court dismissed an inmate's claim in a habeas corpus proceeding that, while on parole, his free exercise rights were curtailed when he was placed on sex offender caseload. The court concluded that the claim does not bear on petitioner's custody.

In Strickland v. Godinez, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141863 (SD IL, Oct. 6, 2014), an Illinois federal district court permitted an inmate to proceed with his free exercise and RLUIPA claims that he is being denied Asatru group worship as well as individual Asatru ritual practices.

Enforcement of Israeli Child Support Order Does Not Violate Establishment Clause

In Jenkins v. Jenkins, (OH App., Oct. 3, 2014), an Ohio Court of Appeals rejected Establishment Clause and equal protection challenges to enforcement of a child support order issued by an Israeli court. While the Israeli civil family court cited Jewish law tradition that makes the father responsible for his daughter's essential support, it went beyond that and applied other considerations as well is setting support.

Collateral Estoppel Bars Title VII Religious Accommodation, But Not Retaliation, Claim

In Mathis v. Christian Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., (ED PA, Oct. 7, 2014), plaintiff Paul Mathis, an atheist, was fired from his position as a sheet metal installer when he insisted on covering with tape his employer company's mission statement printed on the back of his identification badge. The statement read in part: "This company is not only a business, it is a ministry. It is set on standards that are higher than man’s own. Our goal is to run this company in a way most pleasing to the lord...." Mathis claimed that the mission statement was an attempt by the company to force its religious ideology on its employees.

In this Title VII action, a Pennsylvania federal district court held that Mathis was barred by collateral estoppel from proceeding with his Title VII claim of failure to accommodate his religious beliefs. In a prior state court worker's compensaton proceeding, the court held that Mathis had not shown any actual conflict between a sincere religious belief and the employer's requirement, nor had he requested an accommodation. Thefederal district court went on to hold, however, that Mathis was not barred by collateral estoppel from moving ahead with his claim under Title VII for unlawful retaliation against him for opposing what he saw to be religious discrimination.