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Religious Freedom

How could the Supreme Court affect marriage?

Short video debating the possible consequences of Obergefell v. Hodges.
Kyle Duncan, Ilya Somin June 25, 2015

Kyle Duncan of Duncan PLLC, an attorney in private practice who serves as Special Assistant Attorney General for Louisiana, and Ilya Somin, Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law, discuss potential consequences of a ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. This case considers whether or not the 14th Amendment requires that states allow same sex couples to marry, as well as whether or not the 14th Amendment requires states to recognize same sex marriages performed lawfully in other states.

As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

Must the states recognize same sex marriages?

Short video explaining Obergefell v. Hodges
Kyle Duncan, Ilya Somin June 25, 2015

Kyle Duncan of Duncan PLLC, an attorney in private practice who serves as Special Assistant Attorney General for Louisiana, and Ilya Somin, Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law, discuss Obergefell v. Hodges. This case considers whether or not the 14th Amendment requires that states allow same sex couples to marry, as well as whether or not the 14th Amendment requires states to recognize same sex marriages performed lawfully in other states.

As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc and Reed v. Town of Gilbert - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-23-15 featuring Eugene Volokh.
Eugene Volokh June 23, 2015

 

On June 18, 2015, the Supreme Court issued two highly anticipated decisions in free speech cases, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., and Reed v. Town of Gilbert.

Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. concerned two First Amendment issues: the first was whether content displayed on specialty license plates issued by the state is government speech immune from First Amendment prohibition on viewpoint discrimination; the second was whether Texas engaged in viewpoint discrimination when it rejected a specialty license plate design which included an image of a Confederate Flag.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that Texas’s specialty license plate designs constitute government speech, and Texas was therefore entitled to reject the design proposed by Sons of Confederate Veterans. The decision of the Fifth Circuit to the contrary was reversed. Justices Thomas, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined Justice Breyer’s majority opinion. A dissenting opinion was filed by Justice Alito, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Kennedy.

Reed v. Town of Gilbert involved a First Amendment challenge to the sign code for Gilbert, Arizona, which imposes more stringent restrictions on signs directing the public to meetings of nonprofit groups--including churches--than on other signs. By a vote of 9-0, the Court reversed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit (which had rejected the challenge) and remanded the case.  Justice Thomas, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Alito, and Sotomayor, held that the Code’s sign provisions were content-based restrictions of speech that could not survive strict scrutiny. Justice Alito also filed a concurring opinion, joined by Justices Kennedy and Sotomayor. Justice Breyer filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justice Kagan, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Breyer, also filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.

To discuss the case, we have Professor Eugene Volokh, the Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-16-15 featuring Michael Rosman
Michael E. Rosman June 16, 2015

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc, decided on June 1, involves Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits a prospective employer from (among other things) refusing to hire an applicant in order to avoid accommodating a religious practice that it could accommodate without undue hardship.  The question here is whether this prohibition applies only where an applicant has informed the employer of his need for an accommodation. The Tenth Circuit had ruled in favor of Abercrombie, concluding that an employer could not be held liable until an applicant (or employee) provided the employer with actual knowledge of her need for an accommodation.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Scalia, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Tenth Circuit by a vote of 8-1 and remanded the case for further proceedings.  A request for accommodation, or the employer’s certainty that the practice at issue exists, the Court explained, may make it easier to infer the requisite motive, but it is not a necessary condition of liability under Title VII.

The Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan joined Justice Scalia’s majority opinion. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.  Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion.

To discuss the case, we have Michael Rosman, who is General Counsel at the Center for Individual Rights.

Religious Accommodation in the Workplace: EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores - Podcast

Labor & Employment Law and Religious Liberties Practice Groups Podcast
Michael E. Rosman June 04, 2015

When is an employer liable or not liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for refusing to hire an applicant or discharging an employee based on a “religious observance and practice?”  We discussed the case decided on June 1, 2015 by the U.S. Supreme Court.on this Courthouse Steps Teleforum conference call.

  • Michael E. Rosman, General Counsel, Center for Individual Rights