Capitol Hill Report — 7/03/17

July 3, 2017

Notable Supreme Court Cases

Supreme CourtReligious liberty has become the left’s punching bag, forcing the Supreme Court to rule on many cases dealing with this issue alone.  We saw one of those cases this week, along with challenges to President Trump’s executive order dealing with travel and refugees from other countries. 

Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer

Trinity Lutheran Church in Missouri applied to a state program that provides rubber surfaces made out of recycled tires to safeguard their playground.  They were then rejected solely because they are a religious institution, even though the playground itself was not a religious entity or activity.  Missouri’s state constitution prohibits funds from the public treasury to go towards religious institutions, however, this was a direct assault on the church’s First Amendment rights.  After this case made its way to the Supreme Court, it was ruled by a 7-2 decision that the government cannot discriminate against religious institutions when providing a secular service.  Not only did this ruling refine the Free Speech Clause, but it also gave a win to religious liberty.

President Trump’s Travel and Refugee Ban

President Trump issued an executive order earlier this year banning travel into the United States from six different countries and banning refugees for 120 days.  This was a much-needed tactic to prevent international terrorism within our borders.  Since February, lower courts have blocked the ban saying that it is discriminatory against Muslims, but the Supreme Court lifted parts of the order, allowing others to go into effect.  They deemed that a person from another country would be allowed into the United States only if they have a “bona fide” relationship with someone, such as a family member, or are tied to a specific entity, such as a business or school. This causes much confusion about how to define a “bona fide relationship” and creates a major loophole for those trying to enter the United States.  Luckily, they have scheduled oral arguments for these executive orders for October. 

Eagle Forum will pay close attention to the oral arguments this October.