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OUR LEGAL CASES
- Access to Justice
- Acknowledging God in Law
- Bibles in Juries
- Bibles in School
- Boy Scouts
- Christian Schools
- Civil Forfeiture
- Evolution in Public Schools
- Fourth Amendment
- “Hate Crimes”
- Historical Monuments
- Islam and Sharia Law
- Keeping and Bearing Arms
- Legal Standing
- Moment of Silence in Schools
- National Motto, “In God We Trust”
- Parental Rights
- Pledge of Allegiance
- Prison Ministry
- Public Evangelism
- Public Nudity
- Public Prayer
- Religious Discrimination
- Religious Displays
- Religious Liberty and COVID-19
- Religious Objections to the LGBT Agenda
- Removal from Office of Chief Justice Roy Moore
- Socialized Medicine: ObamaCare
Robinson v. Marshall (2020)—During 2020’s Coronavirus outbreak, the State of Alabama issued an order restricting the right to gather in certain places, among which were churches. The order also prohibited medical appointments, subject to limited exceptions. Abortion providers sued over the order, and the trial court prohibited the State from enforcing its order against them under certain conditions. The State appealed, and we filed an amicus brief supporting it. We pointed out some procedural issues that made the State more likely to succeed. We also argued that it would be absurd to carve out an exception for abortion while churches, for the most part, had to bear with the order.
June Medical Services v. Gee (2019)—This was the first abortion case that the Supreme Court agreed to hear since Justice Kavanaugh replaced Justice Kennedy, who for years had been the critical fifth vote for keeping Roe v. Wade. The Court agreed to hear this abortion case, which involved whether Louisiana could impose certain licensing restrictions on abortionists. We were the first pro-life group to file an amicus brief in this case after the Court granted certiorari. Instead of arguing over licensing restrictions, we argued that the Court should overrule Roe altogether. To our knowledge, we were the first pro-life group to ask the Court to overrule Roe in an abortion case that the Court agreed to hear after Justice Kavanaugh took office.
Marshall v. West Alabama Women’s Center (2018-19)—An abortion clinic in west Alabama brought a suit in federal court challenging Alabama’s prohibition on D&E abortion, which involves killing a baby by ripping it apart limb by limb. The State lost at the trial level and appealed to the Eleventh Circuit. The Foundation filed an amicus brief giving the Eleventh Circuit two ways to protect life. The Eleventh Circuit reluctantly ruled in the abortionists’ favor, but two judges on the panel called on the Supreme Court to overrule its abortion decisions. Alabama appealed to the Supreme Court, and the Foundation filed an amicus brief in its support. We argued that the Court should overrule Roe v. Wade completely. To our knowledge, this was the first time since Justice Kavanaugh replaced Justice Kennedy that any pro-life group had called on the Supreme Court to overrule Roe. The Court ultimately declined to take the case, but Justice Clarence Thomas issued a separate opinion (https://www NULL.supremecourt NULL.gov/opinions/18pdf/18-837_hgdj NULL.pdf) stating that the Court needed to fix the problems its abortion cases had caused. We also saw some of our brief’s signature arguments about overruling precedent show up in Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion in Gamble v. United States (https://www NULL.supremecourt NULL.gov/opinions/18pdf/17-646_d18e NULL.pdf), which was also before the Court that same term.
NIFLA v. Becerra (2018)—California passed a law that forced pro-life groups, most of whom were religious, to tell women where they could get taxpayer-funded abortions. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, and we filed an amicus brief supporting the pro-life groups. We argued that forcing people to speak a message that is contrary to their deeply held beliefs is one of the worst forms of a First Amendment violation. We also pointed out how the problem was made worse when people were forced to promote abortion, which is the taking of an innocent human life that is based on terrible legal reasoning.
March v. Mills (2017)—A Maine law required Pastor Andrew March, who used to engage in pro-life sidewalk counseling, to cease from speaking if he could be heard inside an abortion clinic. When the First Circuit ruled against him, Pastor March asked the Supreme Court to take his case. The Foundation filed an amicus brief supporting him. We argued that the law discriminated against pro-lifers because of their viewpoint. We also observed that Pastor March had no way of knowing before he spoke whether he could be heard inside the clinic or not.
Personhood Oklahoma v. Barber (2012)—The Foundation argued to the United States Supreme Court that the people of Oklahoma should be allowed to vote to protect the unborn as “persons” under the state constitution. The Oklahoma Supreme Court in April blocked (http://law NULL.justia NULL.com/cases/oklahoma/supreme-court/2012/110545 NULL.html) a pro-life personhood measure, Initiative Petition No. 395, claiming it would be “clearly unconstitutional” under cases upholding the so-called “right” to abortion found nowhere in the Constitution. The Foundation explained that the Oklahoma personhood initiative was a constitutionally-sound approach to granting equal protection of the law to preborn children; that many states including Alabama protect the preborn through fetal homicide laws and chemical endangerment laws that protect children (when in the womb or not) from exposure to controlled substances; and that the Holy Bible recognizes the personhood of the preborn child.
Gonzales v. Carhart (2006)—The Foundation argued to the United States Supreme Court that Congress has the authority under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to ban partial birth abortions in the states because the babies on whom this procedure is performed are almost outside the mother’s womb and completely alive in every meaningful sense. The Foundation also points out that a right to abortion is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution and thus the Supreme Court’s whole line of abortion decisions are illegitimate.
Access to Justice
Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial Dist. (2020)—In our federalist system of government, the courts must strike a balance between protecting out-of-state defendants from being dragged into court in a state with which they have no contacts versus allowing a plaintiff to sue in a forum that gives them access to justice. That’s not always easy. In this case, a woman died in Montana when her tire blew out and caused a car crash. Her estate sued Ford Motor Co., who manufactured the car and does business in Montana. Because Ford did nothing to bring that particular car to Montana, Ford argued that it could not be sued in that state. The Supreme Court took the case. We filed an amicus brief supporting the estate of the deceased. We conceded that if Ford had done nothing to reach out to Montana, then it would be unfair for to subject Ford to its jurisdiction. But since Ford did business in that state all the time, we argued that it was fair in this case. We explained that requiring plaintiffs to travel to other states to sue under circumstances like these would significantly impede their access to justice.
American Atheists v. Kentucky (2010)—The Foundation, together with Col. Ron Ray and First Principles Press (http://www NULL.firstprinciplespress NULL.org/Home NULL.html), filed an amicus curiae brief (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/KYSENATORS_FMLAMICUS%20BRIEF_5_10_10 NULL.pdf)in the Kentucky Court of Appeals on behalf of 35 Kentucky Senators defending a Homeland Security Act that declared that “[t]he safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.” After the radical American Atheists group filed suit against the law, Judge Thomas Wingate of the Franklin Circuit Court ruled the law to be a violation of the Establishment Clause (http://www NULL.atheists NULL.org/wiki/images/7/7e/AAvKYOpinion8-26copy NULL.pdf)of the First Amendment and a violation of the Kentucky Constitution. The Foundation’s brief explained that the Establishment Clause only forbids laws “respecting an establishment of religion,” not laws that simply recognize our need for God’s protection. The Founding Fathers wanted to prevent an official, national denomination, but even they acknowledged God and His Divine Providence in many official acts and laws. Neither the words of the First Amendment nor their meaning have changed, and all judges ought to apply the original meaning of those words when interpreting the Constitution.
Oliver v. Quarterman (2008) (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/oliver_v_quarterman NULL.pdf)—The Foundation argued to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that a Texas jury’s consultation of a Bible during its death-penalty deliberations did not violate the 6th Amendment’s “impartial jury” clause, and that as a cross-section of the community at-large, a citizen jury and its members bring life experience into the jury room and should not be forced to banish the Bible or religious references from its deliberations on the weighty matters of morality, justice, and capital punishment.
Roark v. South Iron R-1 School District (2008)—The Foundation argued to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals that the South Iron R-1 School District’s traditional policy of allowing Gideons International to distribute Bibles to students in school does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because such policies are not “law[s] respecting an establishment of religion,” as those words were understood when they were adopted.
Winkler v. Rumsfeld (2005)—The Foundation argued to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that a proper interpretation of the First Amendment permits the United States Military to logistically and financially aid the Boy Scouts of America in putting on its National Jamboree; therefore, a federal district court’s ruling prohibiting the military’s assistance because members of the Boys Scouts must believe in God should be reversed.
Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru (2020)—Two former employees of Catholic schools sued them after they were fired. The schools claimed that the First Amendment’s religion clauses insulated them from lawsuits because they had a right to determine who was a “minister” of their faith and who was not. The Ninth Circuit ruled against them, but the Supreme Court agreed to take their case. We filed an amicus brief supporting the schools, arguing that the First Amendment grants religious schools full discretion to determine who was a “minister” of their faith and who was not. Religious organizations need to be able to hire and fire depending on whether personnel fit their religious mission or not.
Timbs v. Indiana (2018-19)—In 2018, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the question of whether the Eighth Amendment applied to the states through the “incorporation doctrine.” Also involved in this case was the question of whether civil forfeiture constituted cruel or unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. While the Foundation believes in law and order, it filed an amicus brief answering both questions in the affirmative. Confusion over the incorporation doctrine is the root of many problems in constitutional law, and the practice of civil forfeiture has turned out to unfairly deprive many people of their property without due process of law. Just as we believe life is a gift from God, we believe that property is as well. “Thou shalt not steal” applies to the government just as much as it does to the criminal. The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of incorporating the Eighth Amendment. On remand, the Indiana Supreme Court asked us to submit an amicus brief addressing how the Eighth Amendment applied to civil forfeiture, and we did so.
Selman v. Cobb County, Georgia (2005)—The Foundation argued to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that placing disclaimers on public school science textbooks in Cobb County, Ga., that label evolution a “theory, not a fact” and urge students to “critically consider” the materials on evolution contained in the textbooks is perfectly permissible under the First Amendment and therefore a district court ruling ordering the removal of the stickers from the textbooks should be set aside. Without a rational explanation, the Eleventh Circuit rejected the Foundation’s brief in the case. We are awaiting a ruling from the Eleventh Circuit on this appeal.
Trump v. Mazars USA (2020)—Based on the testimony of convicted criminal Michael Cohen and the refuted notion that Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 election, Congressional committees subpoenaed President Trump’s financial records from his accountant and banks. The lower courts ruled against Trump , but the Supreme Court agreed to take the case. The Foundation filed an amicus brief supporting him, arguing that the committee’s requests violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches. We also argued that letting the committees get away with this would set a precedent that could let Congress harass any political or religious group that it dislikes.
Surles v. City of Ashville, Ala. (2009)—The Foundation explained to the Alabama Supreme Court the strong legal posture Alabama law maintains against lotteries and that local amendments like St. Clair County’s that allow traditional “charitable bingo” must be strictly construed as an exception to the general anti-lottery rule. The Foundation urges the Alabama Supreme Court to reverse the circuit court’s ruling and hold that video or machine “bingo” approved by the City of Ashville is barred by law.
Etowah Baptist Association v. Entrekin (2009) (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/Etowah_Baptist_Assoc NULL._v_Entrekin,_amicus_by_Foundation_for_Moral_Law,1 NULL.22 NULL.09%20_machine_bingo NULL.pdf)—The Foundation argued to the Alabama Supreme Court that “machine bingo” gambling approved in Etowah County, Alabama, violates the local constitutional amendment permitting traditional “bingo,” defined in a contemporaneous enabling statute as a game played on “card or paper.” “Machine bingo” is therefore unlawful under Alabama’s constitutional prohibition on lotteries and “schemes” in the nature of a lottery, and therefore, the circuit court’s ruling allowing permits for such machines should be reversed.
Barber v. Jefferson County Racing Association, et al. (2006)—The Foundation argued to the Alabama Supreme Court that new video sweepstakes machines installed at the Birmingham Race Course violate Alabama’s prohibition on lotteries and “schemes” in the nature of a lottery, and therefore, the circuit court’s ruling permitting the machines to remain operational should be reversed. The Supreme Court declared the machines to be unconstitutional and quoted from the Foundation’s brief in the course of setting out its reasons for so ruling.
Marcavage v. Rendell (2008) (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/Marcavage_v_Rendell_PA_Sup_Ct NULL.pdf)—The Foundation, representing several Christian evangelists charged with a “hate crime” for speaking against homosexual behavior, argued to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the Pennsylvania legislature’s altering of an “agricultural crop destruction” bill into a different bill deceptively entitled as an amendment to the state’s “ethnic intimidation” law—making crimes motivated by “sexual orientation,” “gender identity” and other classes subject to greater punishment—violated Article III, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution: “No law shall be passed except by bill, and no bill shall be so altered or amended, on its passage through either House, as to change its original purpose.”
Result: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, ruling in favor of the Christian evangelists, agrees with the Foundation’s brief in an order (http://www NULL.aopc NULL.org/OpPosting/Supreme/out/112map2007pco NULL.pdf) dated July 23, 2008, and adopts the lower court decision finding the “ethnic intimidation” law to be a violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Gardner v. Mutz (2020)—After the City of Lakeland, Florida, attempted to remove a historical monument of a Confederate soldier, a group of concerned citizens sued to stop the city. When the trial court ruled against them, the citizens appealed to the Eleventh Circuit. While the appeal was pending, the United States Supreme Court decided American Legion, and the Alabama Supreme Court decided State of Alabama v. City of Birmingham. We submitted an amicus brief to the Eleventh Circuit supporting the citizens, echoing the arguments we made in State of Alabama v. City of Birmingham and bringing those new decisions to the court’s attention.
State of Alabama v. City of Birmingham (2019)—Beginning in about 2015, controversy swept across the South as to whether monuments to the Confederacy, which had stood for about 150 years, should be taken down. The State of Alabama passed a law allowing any historical monument over 40 years old to remain in place. That would include monuments to the Confederacy as well as to the Civil Rights Movement. The City of Birmingham sued the State over the law, and the case came up to the Alabama Supreme Court. We filed an amicus brief supporting the State, warning that the movement to tear down Confederate monuments was part of a larger movement to erase history altogether, including the history of America’s founding. The court eventually ruled 9-0 in the State’s favor.
Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia (2019)—Across the country, lower federal courts began interpreting Title VII’s prohibition on “sex discrimination” in the workplace to apply to “sexual orientation.” In order to resolve a circuit split, the Supreme Court agreed to decide the question. The Foundation filed an amicus brief arguing that “sex discrimination” in Title VII was never intended to apply to homosexuality, observing that sodomy was criminalized in nearly every state when Congress passed Title VII in 1964.
Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America (2011)—The Foundation argued to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that the military ban on homosexuality (now repealed) is constitutional and should be left to the discretion of Congress and the Commander-In-Chief, not the judicial branch. Homosexuality is not protected by the Constitution, especially for members of the military, and homosexual activity poses a health threat to the armed forces. The Foundation urged the appeals court to interpret the Constitution as the Framers intended instead of rewriting the Constitution to fit a radical, liberal agenda.
Ward v. Wilbanks (2010) (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/FMLAmicusWardWilbanks12 NULL.28 NULL.10 NULL.pdf)—The Foundation argued to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a former student at Eastern Michigan University who was dismissed from a graduate counseling program because she refused to affirm the homosexual lifestyle. The Foundation explained that the University’s action violated Ward’s right to freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, and liberty of conscience under the United States and Michigan Constitutions.
Ex parte N. B. (2009)—The Foundation for Moral Law argued to the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama courts should not be forced to recognize a California court order stating that an Alabama mother, now married to a man, must allow her former lesbian lover in California visitation rights with the mother’s biological child. The State of Alabama is not required by the ‘full faith and credit clause’ of the U.S. Constitution to recognize something which is directly contrary to its law and public policy and to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Welch v. Brown (2013) – The Foundation for Moral Law argued to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that it was unconstitutional for the State of California to ban counselors from sharing there opinion with a minor client that homosexuality is not normal. The Foundation argued: “under the guide of affirming the homosexual lifestyle, SB 1172 actually established by law the religious and moral belief that homosexuality and homosexual acts are morally acceptable when in fact a large portion of the population and of the counseling community believe on religious moral and scientific grounds that homosexuality and homosexual acts are wrong.”
Trump v. Hawaii (2018)—President Trump temporarily banned travel from countries that posed a threat to the United States, including North Korea and Venezuela. Immediately he was sued, and his opponents claimed that the ban was really a “Muslim ban.” A nationwide injunction was entered against him, and his case eventually reached the Supreme Court. When the Court agreed to take it, we filed an amicus brief supporting him. We argued that his actions did not violate the Establishment Clause and raised the alarm about the abuse of nationwide injunctions. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled in favor of President Trump, reasoning that the courts must grant substantial deference to the President in national security matters. Justice Thomas wrote a concurring opinion attacking the abuse of nationwide injunctions.
Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Program (2017)—Shortly after assuming office, President Trump entered a temporary travel ban concerning several countries that posed threats to the United States, most of which had majority-Muslim populations. The President was sued immediately, the case quickly came to the U.S. Supreme Court. When the Court agreed to hear it, the Foundation filed an amicus brief supporting the President. We pushed back against the argument that his ban was really a “Muslim ban,” and we also discussed a biblical view of immigration in order to counter liberal Christian groups. The President’s travel ban expired while the case was pending, so the Court eventually dismissed th e case as moot. The President then created a new travel ban that eventually reached the Court in Trump v. Hawaii in 2018.
Xue v. Sessions (2017)—A Chinese Christian named Ting Xue sought asylum from religious persecution in the United States. The INS wanted him deported, and the Tenth Circuit ruled against him. Xue asked the Supreme Court to review his case, and the Foundation filed an amicus brief in his support. We argued that the Tenth Circuit was reading religious asylum law too narrowly and failed to consider how badly Communist China persecutes Christians. By the time his case reached the Supreme Court, the Trump administration came into power and was more sympathetic to Xue’s claim than the Obama administration was. The Trump administration worked out a deal with Xue that did not require him to be deported, so the Supreme Court dismissed the case as settled.
United States v. Texas (2015)—President Obama entered an order refusing to deport illegal aliens as the law required. The Fifth Circuit held that his actions were unconstitutional, and the government appealed to the Supreme Court. We filed an amicus brief arguing that by refusing to deport illegal immigrants, President Obama was violating Article II’s requirement that the President take care to faithfully execute the laws. We also argued that he was usurping Congress’s role by implementing a new law instead of following the old one.
Awad v. Ziriax (2010) (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/Awad_v_Ziriax_OKSharia_FMLAmicus NULL.pdf)—The Foundation for Moral Law argued to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, defending the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s “Save Our State Amendment,” (https://www NULL.sos NULL.ok NULL.gov/documents/questions/755 NULL.pdf)which blocks foreign and Sharia law from being considered in Oklahoma court decisions. The Foundation explained (1) that Oklahoma may establish standards for the interpretation of its Constitution and laws, especially a legal system like Sharia that is antithetical to American law; (2) that the Save Our State Amendment would have certainly been held constitutional if it had not mentioned Sharia; but that (3) because there is doubt as to whether Sharia is religion or law (or both), it was necessary for the Oklahoma amendment to mention Sharia as part of the excluded category of law. Moreover, allowing the influence of Sharia in American courts–and there are examples of it in several states–raises greater problems of government establishment of religion as courts will be forced to pick and choose one of the many variants of Sharia law in Islam.
McDonald v. City of Chicago, Ill. (2009)—The Foundation argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that handgun bans in Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois, violate the God-given, inalienable right of self-defense and the right of the people to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is a “privilege or immunity” for all U.S. citizens protected under the 14th Amendment and any state or local law that bans handguns for law-abiding citizens violates a historic and fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution.
District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)—The Foundation argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns and firearms in the home is an egregious violation of the plain words of the Second Amendment, which protects the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” The Founders understood that they had gained their independence, and that we would remain free, thanks to a citizenry that was well-armed to defend itself against enemies foreign and domestic.
Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation (2007)—In a case where federal taxpayers sued federal agencies for supporting faith-based organizations equally with secular organizations, the Foundation argued to the United States Supreme Court that taxpayers should not have legal standing to sue the government for allegedly violating the Establishment Clause because (1) the Establishment Clause is a federalism provision that does not protect an individual right, and (2) taxpayers with no direct injury from the government action lack the “personal stake” in the litigation required by the Constitution to make the lawsuit a real “case or controversy” that federal courts have the authority to hear.
Davis v. Ermold (2020)—After the Supreme Court decided Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that same-sex couples have a right to marry, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who is a Christian, refused to issue marriage licenses with her name on them to same-sex couples. Two gay couples sued her for refusing to issue them marriage licenses. When the lower courts ruled against her, Davis asked the Supreme Court to take her case. The Foundation filed an amicus brief asking the Court to take this opportunity overrule Obergefell and free the states to recognize that marriage is between a man and a woman. To our knowledge, this was the first time anyone had ever asked the Supreme Court to overrule Obergefell since Justice Kavanaugh replaced Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court.
Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)—After allowing many lower-court decisions to stand that created a right to same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court reviewed the decision of the Sixth Circuit, which affirmed that states could recognize marriage as between a man and a woman. The Foundation filed an amicus brief telling the Supreme Court that neither the text nor the history of the Constitution supported a right to same-sex marriage in any way. It urged the Court not to engage in judicial activism by mandating same-sex marriage across the nation. When the news broke that Justices Ginsburg and Kagan had presided over same-sex wedding ceremonies, we filed a motion to have them recuse themselves instead of taking part in the majority decision. The Supreme Court acknowledged the receipt of our motion, but it was ignored. Justices Kagan and Ginsburg voted with the majority to impose same-sex marriage on the nation in a 5-4 decision.
Herbert v. Kitchen (2014)—After the Supreme Court decided Windsor, many lower federal judges began striking down state marriage laws that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. One such law was Utah’s. When Utah asked the Supreme Court to take the case and vindicate its right to recognize marriage as a union between one man and one woman, the Foundation filed an amicus brief in its support. We argued that the text and history of the Constitution did not give the federal judiciary any right to impose same-sex marriage on the country and that Utah’s right to recognize traditional marriage should be vindicated.
United States of America v. Edith Schlain Windsor (2013) – The Foundation argued that the Defense of Marriage Act is allowed under a plain reading of the Constitution. The Foundation told the Court they should follow the Constitution, plain and simple. “The Second Circuit says the nonexistent equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment requires the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages, even though the Supreme Court has never said the actual Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires that the states recognize same-sex marriages. How can it be, that the non-existent equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment is stronger than the actual Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth? This anomaly demonstrates the danger and folly of allowing the federal judiciary to depart from the plain language of the Constitution and the intent of its Framers, and to wander aimlessly in the trackless fields of their own imaginations.” The Foundation’s argument consisted of the following arguments: “(1) the Constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act should be determined by the text of the Constitution, the supreme law of the land; (2) the Defense of Marriage Act does not violate the Equal Protection component of the Fifth Amendment because the Fifth Amendment Contains no such component; (3) the Defense of Marriage Act is rationally supported by many legitimate reason and important considerations, including the “law of nature and of nature’s God” and those interests advanced by Congress when it passed the statute.”
Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013) – After the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, the Foundation argued that California’s Proposition 8, which made gay marriage unconstitutional in that state, was itself a constitutional way to define marriage. FML also argued that same sex-marriage is not a right but that marriage is a government recognition of a divinely established institution. Eidsmoe wrote in part “the Constitution is utterly silent about same-sex marriage. To read into the Constitution a protection of same-sex marriage, is to commit the very folly that President Washington warned against: changing the Constitution by usurpation.” The Foundation’s argument consisted of the following points: (1) the Constitutionality of California Proposition 8 should be determined by the text of the Constitution, not judicially-fabricated formulations; (2) the family is a divinely established institution for human government, not simply an individual right; (3) the people of California are not barred from prohibiting same-sex marriage merely because a court recognized same-sex marriage for approximately, 142 days; such recognition is not the same as a time-honored, God-given right; (4) a rational basis for Proposition 8 exists.”
Hollingsworth v. Perry (2012)—The Foundation asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn lower federal courts that struck down Proposition 8, the California marriage amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, as unconstitutional. The Foundation’s brief argued four main points: (1) the text of the Constitution should be the standard for determining whether Proposition 8 is constitutional, not judicially-fabricated “tests”; (2) marriage is an institution for human government, not merely an individual right; (3) just because California courts recognized same-sex “marriage” in California, which lasted for a mere 140 days, does not make it a time-honored, God-given right; and (4) contrary to the lower courts’ opinion, a “rational basis” for traditional marriage exists.
Massachusetts v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (2011) (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/Gill_v_OPM_DOMA_case_1stCir_1%2020%2011_Final NULL.pdf)—The Foundation argued to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals that the traditional definition of marriage in the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA) was constitutional. The Foundation explained that the definition of marriage was given by God when He created man and woman, a definition that has been sustained throughout the common law and American law, and that by passing DOMA Congress was supporting marriage and responsible procreation and defending traditional notions of morality. The Foundation urged the appeals court to interpret the Constitution as the Framers intended instead of rewriting the Constitution to fit a radical, liberal agenda.
Croft v. Governor of Texas (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/Moment_of_silence,_Croft_v NULL._Governor_of_Texas,_Amicus_brief_by_Foundation_for_Moral_Law NULL.pdf) (2008)—The Foundation argued to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that the Texas law requiring a 60-second moment of silence for students to “reflect, pray, meditate, or engage in any other silent activity” does not violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Giving students the voluntary option to pray, reflect, or simply sit there quietly is not an “establishment of religion” as that term was understood by the drafters and ratifiers of the Establishment Clause.
Newdow v. Congress (2006)—The Foundation argued to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that “In God We Trust” as our National Motto and on our currency does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, but is an example of the fine American tradition of acknowledging God and our Nation’s dependence upon Him. Atheist Michael Newdow brought this lawsuit, but lost at the trial level—a result the Foundation hopes to see repeated on appeal.
Calgaro v. St. Louis County (2017-2019)—Anmarie Calgaro, a resident of St. Louis County, Minnesota, discovered one day that her child’s public school had helped her child get transgender treatment without her knowledge. She sued the school and the local government, claiming that the school’s actions violated her Due Process rights. We filed an amicus brief with the Eighth Circuit, arguing that the school violated her rights as a parent. The Eighth Circuit ruled against her on procedural grounds, and she appealed to the Supreme Court. We filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that the school district violated Calgaro’s parental rights.
Jan Roe, et al. v. Rio Linda School District, et al. (2006) —The Foundation argued to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the language of the First Amendment does not require the removal of the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, and therefore the federal district court’s excising of those words because they acknowledge God should be reversed.
Freedom From Religion Foundation v. United States, Hanover School District (2010) —In yet another challenge from atheist Michael Newdow, the Foundation argued to the First Circuit Court of Appeals that it does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment for schoolchildren in New Hampshire to be allowed to voluntarily recite the Pledge of Allegiance and recognize that we are “one nation under God.”
Americans United for Separation of Church and State v. Prison Fellowship Ministries (2006) —The Foundation argued to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit that the presence of Prison Fellowship’s Biblically-based inmate rehabilitation program, InnerChange Freedom Initiative, at an Iowa prison does not violate the Establishment Clause; and that the lower court’s opinion demonstrates hostility toward religion and specifically Christianity by ordering the program out for being too “overtly religious” and “pervasively sectarian.”
Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski (2020)—A public university in Georgia stopped a student from sharing the Gospel because some people were getting upset. The school defended its actions by claiming that the student’s conduct fell under the “fighting words” doctrine, which holds that the First Amendment does not protect speech that tends to incite violence. The case was dismissed on procedural grounds, and the student asked the Supreme Court to take the case. We filed an amicus brief urging the Court to strongly rebuke the notion that sharing the Gospel could ever be considered “fighting words.”
Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Michael Marcavage (2008)—The Foundation filed this brief in the Massachusetts Appeals Court appealing a disorderly conduct conviction leveled against evangelist Michael Marcavage of Repent America for peacefully preaching the gospel with a megaphone in Salem, Mass. on Halloween night 2007. Although the Foundation obtained a dismissal of a noise ordinance violation charge, the trial court found Marcavage guilty of disorderly conduct based primarily on the potential reaction the Halloween revelers might have to his preaching.
Michael Marcavage v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts (2010)—After Marcavage’s conviction was affirmed (see attached affidavit), the Foundation filed this petition for certiorari review in the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to hear the case and the issues of free speech, religious liberty, equal protection, and due process of law.
Lilley v. New Hampshire (2019)—Three women were arrested for topless sunbathing on a New Hampshire beach and were convicted of public nudity. The New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed their sentences in a dangerously close 3-2 vote after the women argued that the public-nudity ban violated their rights to free speech and equal protection. They petitioned the Supreme Court to hear their case, and the Court called for a response. We filed an amicus brief supporting the State, arguing that the Constitution was never intended to protect public nudity. Fortunately, the Court declined to hear the case.
Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (2018)—Joe Kennedy, a public high school football coach in Washington State, had the custom of praying at the 50 yard line after football games. Eventually he lost his job because the government considered this a violation of the Establishment Clause. After the Ninth Circuit ruled against him, Coach Kennedy asked the Supreme Court to take his case, arguing that the Ninth Circuit’s decision violated his free speech rights. We filed an amicus brief supporting him, arguing that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling also violated his religious freedom. The Supreme Court eventually declined to take this case, but Justice Alito, joined by Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, issued a statement (https://www NULL.supremecourt NULL.gov/opinions/18pdf/18-12_d18e NULL.pdf) hinting that he should bring a religious-freedom claim instead of a free-speech claim and ask the Supreme Court to reconsider some of its bad religious-freedom decisions.
Town of Greece v. Galloway (2011-14)—The Foundation argued to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit that public prayer at town board meetings in Greece, NY, did not violate the Establishment Clause. When the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Foundation filed an amicus brief arguing essentially the same points. The Court ruled in favor of keeping the prayer in an opinion that moved in the right direction towards restoring religious liberty.
Doe v. Indian River School District (2010)—The Foundation argued to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that courts should apply the text of the Establishment Clause, as it would have been understood by the people that ratified it, to determine the constitutionality of the School Board’s prayer policy, rather than rely on case tests like the Lemon test and others. In this case, the Indian River School Board prayer policy is not a “law respecting an establishment of religion” and should be upheld.
Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Barack Obama (2010)—The Foundation argued to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that the National Day of Prayer law, 36 U.S.C. § 119, is not a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which requires that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Such days of national prayer are not an establishment of religion, as those words were understood by the framers; such prayers have been officially declared since the time of our first congresses and presidents; and they represent an American philosophy of government that depends on the blessings of Almighty God.
Joyner v. Forsyth County, North Carolina (2010)—The Foundation argued to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that the language of the First Amendment, as understood by the Founders, does not prohibit the Board of Commissioners of Forsyth County, North Carolina from opening their meetings with prayers, including those offered in the name of Jesus. Moreover, it is not within the jurisdiction or expertise of judges to determine the content of one’s prayers and whether they are too “sectarian.” Finally, allowing public prayer reflects the beliefs of the majority of Americans who believe in God and the power of prayer to affect our society and government.
Pelphrey v. Cobb County, Georgia (2007) (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/Pelphrey_v NULL._Cobb_County,_Ga NULL._Amicus_brief NULL.pdf)—The Foundation argued to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that the language of the First Amendment does not prohibit Cobb County, Georgia, commissions from opening their sessions with prayers in the name of Jesus, nor does it outlaw the process the commissions use to choose clergy members who would give such prayers. The Foundation urges the Court to approve the prayers and the process based on the actual meaning of the Establishment Clause rather than according to incomplete and unhelpful judicial tests.
District of Columbia v. Ante, Katherine, and Christan Pavkovic (2007) –The Foundation successfully defended the Pavkovic family when the three of them were arrested for praying aloud in the name of Jesus from the U.S. Senate Visitors’ Gallery as a Hindu man opened the Senate in prayer. The Foundation was able to secure a dismissal of the charges against the Pavkovics for their bold stand for the God in Whom America and her forefathers trust.
Hinrichs v. Bosma (2006)—The Foundation argued to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that the language of the First Amendment does not prohibit the Indiana House of Representatives from opening its daily sessions with prayers in the name of Jesus and therefore a federal district court’s ruling stopping the 188 year practice should be reversed.
Doe v. Tangipahoa Parish School Board (2005)—The Foundation argued to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that the language of the First Amendment does not prohibit the Tangipahoa Parish School Board in Louisiana to open its meeting with prayer and therefore a federal district court’s ruling stopping the practice should be reversed.
– En banc Tangipahoa Parish brief (2007)—Similar brief filed with all the members of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (en banc) after the court vacated a 3-judge panel’s decision (holding that 4 specific prayers violated the Constitution) and agreed to rehear the case.
Archdiocese of Washington v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (2019)—The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) provided advertising space on public buses to private groups. But when the Archdiocese of Washington wanted to place an ad about Christmas, the WMATA denied their request because they were religious. The Archdiocese eventually asked the Supreme Court to take their case. The Foundation filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to protect their rights to free exercise of religion and freedom of speech.
Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue (2019)—Montana set up a public funding program that opened opportunities for students to get into private schools, but the program specifically excluded religious schools. Not only is this religious discrimination, but 70% of the private schools in Montana were religious. The Supreme Court agreed to hear this case and consider whether Montana’s exclusion of religious schools violated the Free Exercise Clause. We filed an amicus brief arguing that it does.
Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer (2015-17)—A midwestern church was denied access to State funds to revitalize their church’s playground. The program was open to anyone who wanted to apply, but this church was denied because it was a religious organization. The church asked the Supreme Court to take its case, and we filed an amicus brief in its support. The Court agreed to take the case and eventually ruled in the church’s favor, reasoning that discriminating against the church because it was a church violated the Free Exercise Clause.
Colorado Christian University v. Baker (2007)—The Foundation argued to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that the state of Colorado’s exclusion of Colorado Christian University from receiving generally available state financial aid solely because the state designated the school as “pervasively sectarian” violates the plain meaning of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and therefore, a federal district court’s decision approving of the state’s religious discrimination should be reversed.
American Legion v. American Humanist Association (2017-2019)—In 1918, the citizens of Bladensburg, Maryland, erected a memorial cross to honor the men from that county who fell in World War I. It stood undisturbed for nearly 90 years, until offended liberals sued. After the Fourth Circuit ruled that the cross was unconstitutional, we filed an amicus brief urging the court to reconsider its decision. When a slim majority of judges on that court refused to reconsider it, the Supreme Court was asked to take the case. We filed an amicus brief supporting the petition, arguing that the First Amendment did not prohibit religious displays like this and that the cross had a special significance for the military. The Court granted certiorari, and we filed another brief arguing the same points. The Court eventually ruled (https://www NULL.supremecourt NULL.gov/opinions/18pdf/17-1717_j426 NULL.pdf) 7-2 in favor of keeping the cross.
City of Pensacola v. Kondrat’yev (2017-20)—A large cross had stood in a public park in Pensacola, Florida, since the 1940’s. Nobody complained for over 70 years, until several liberals were offended by the display and sued. When the case reached the Eleventh Circuit, we filed an amicus brief arguing that (1) the Establishment Clause’s original intent was not to prevent religious displays like this, and (2) a majority of sitting Supreme Court justices would agree with us. The Eleventh Circuit reluctantly ruled against the City (http://media NULL.ca11 NULL.uscourts NULL.gov/opinions/pub/files/201713025 NULL.pdf), which appealed to the Supreme Court. We filed another amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to take the case. After it released its opinion in American Legion v. American Humanist Association, the Court ordered the Eleventh Circuit to reconsider its decision. On remand, the Eleventh Circuit ruled in the City’s favor (http://media NULL.ca11 NULL.uscourts NULL.gov/opinions/pub/files/201713025 NULL.rem NULL.pdf). The Eleventh Circuit’s decision on remand set a very favorable precedent for religious displays.
Felix v. City of Bloomfield (2017)—The City of Bloomfield, New Mexico, had a Ten Commandments display set up on public property. Two residents sued after they were offended, and the Tenth Circuit eventually ruled that the display had to be removed. The City asked the Supreme Court to take the case, and we filed an amicus brief its support We discussed in detail the importance of the Ten Commandments on American law and society.
Sterling v. United States (2017)—Marine Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling was disciplined for displaying a Bible verse on her desk. She eventually asked the Supreme Court to take her case. We filed an amicus brief in her support, reminding the Court that religious liberty applies in the military as well as in the civilian world.
Mt. Soledad Memorial Assoc. v. Trunk (2012)—The Foundation argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that a memorial cross on Mt. Soledad (http://www NULL.soledadmemorial NULL.com/) near San Diego, California, does not constitute a “law” establishing religion, and further that the cross memorializes veterans who have died in America’s wars. A federal district court ruled that the monument is constitutional, but that decision was reversed by the liberal 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Recent decisions of the federal courts, including the 9th Circuit’s in this case, show hostility toward religion—the very opposite of the Founders’ intent. The Foundation urged the Supreme Court to review this case.
ACLU of Ohio v. Judge James DeWeese (2009) (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/ACLU_v_DeWeese_FML_amicus NULL.pdf)—The Foundation argued to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that a Richland County, Ohio Judge who displayed the Ten Commandments opposite tenets of Secular Humanism did not violate the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment.
- Judge James DeWeese v. ACLU of Ohio (2011)—The Sixth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s order to remove the Ten Commandments display, so Judge DeWeese petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. The Foundation filed a supportive brief urging the Court to grant review and arguing, again, that the “Philosophies of Law” display did not violate the Establishment Clause as it was understood by the Founding Fathers.
Salazar v. Buono (2009)—The Foundation argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that neither a memorial cross erected decades ago by the Veterans of Foreign Wars atop Sunrise Rock in the Mojave National Preserve in Southern California, nor Congress’s attempt to transfer the public property containing the cross to the VFW, is an unconstitutional “law respecting an establishment of religion” under the First Amendment.
ACLU of Kentucky v. McCreary County, Kentucky (2009)—The Foundation argued to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that a display containing the Ten Commandments in a Kentucky county courthouse does not violate the words of the First Amendment because it is not a “law respecting an establishment of religion.” Rather, it is a constitutional acknowledgment of the important role that God and His law have played in American history and law.
American Atheists v. Duncan (2008)—The Foundation argued to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that 12-foot steel crosses erected along Utah highways to memorialize patrol officers at the site where the trooper died or was mortally wounded did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, no matter how offended atheists traveling by the crosses may feel.
- Tenth Circuit Opinion (http://www NULL.ca10 NULL.uscourts NULL.gov/opinions/08/08-4061 NULL.pdf)—The Tenth Circuit agreed with the American Atheists that the crosses were unconstitutional, holding that a “reasonable observer” would perceive the crosses as a state endorsement of the Christian religion.
- Certiorari Petition: Utah Highway Patrol Association v. American Atheists, Inc. (2011) (http://www NULL.morallaw NULL.org/PDF/UtahHighwayPatrolAssoc_v_AmerAtheists-FMLamicus NULL.pdf)—The Foundation urged the United States Supreme Court to hear the case and reverse the Tenth Circuit’s decision because memorial crosses, whether along highways or in military cemeteries around the world, do not violate the Establishment Clause.
Pleasant Grove City, Utah v. Summum (2008)—The Foundation argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that the Summum religious group has no right under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to force Pleasant Grove City to install a monument to Summum’s “Seven Aphorisms” in a city park where a Ten Commandments monument has stood for decades.
Weinbaum v. City of Las Cruces, New Mexico (2007)—The Foundation argued to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that 3 crosses in the official symbol of the City of Las Cruces (Spanish for “The Crosses”), New Mexico, do not violate the text of the First Amendment, and that the trial court’s decision upholding the symbol, although correct, may foster hostility toward religion by focusing too much on the lack of “religious purpose” in the symbol’s adoption.
Green v. Haskell County Board of Commissioners (2007)—The Foundation argued to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that a Ten Commandments monument on the lawn of the Haskell County, Oklahoma courthouse does not violate the words of the First Amendment and therefore the lower court decision approving the display should be affirmed. The brief pays considerable attention to the weakness of the U.S. Supreme Court’s judicial tests in this area of the law.
Van Orden v. Perry (2005)—The Foundation argued to the United States Supreme Court that a Ten Commandments monument displayed on the Texas state capitol grounds since 1961 does not violate the words of the First Amendment and therefore a lower court decision permitting the display to remain on public property should be affirmed. The Supreme Court ruled that it was permissible to display this monument.
McCreary County, Kentucky v. ACLU of Kentucky (2005)—The Foundation argued to the United States Supreme Court that Ten Commandments displays in two Kentucky county courthouses do not violate the words of the First Amendment and therefore lower court decisions ordering their removal should be reversed. The Supreme Court ordered this display to be taken down.
Staley v. Harris County, Texas (2005)—The Foundation argued to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that an open King James Bible displayed in a monument outside of a Houston County, TX., courthouse is a constitutional acknowledgment of God on public property. The Fifth Circuit panel affirmed the district court’s declaration of unconstitutionality; however, the full circuit voted to hear the case en banc. Oral arguments were heard in the case January 23, 2007.
ACLU of Nebraska v. City of Plattsmouth, NE (2004)—The Foundation argued to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that it should reverse a federal district court’s decision ordering the removal of a Ten Commandments monument that had been on display in a city park since 1966. The brief explained that such a monument does not violate the specific meaning of the First Amendment. The Eighth Circuit eventually did allow the monument to stay in the park.
Glassroth v. Moore (2003)—Chief Justice Moore’s attorneys argue in a petition to the United States Supreme Court that it should hear his case concerning a Ten Commandments monument he placed on display in the Alabama Judicial Building. A federal district court ruled that the monument had to be removed from the premises as a violation of the First Amendment. The petition argued that the monument is an “acknowledgment of God” which does not violate the First Amendment. The Supreme Court denied the petition and the monument was eventually removed from the building.
Religious Liberty and COVID-19
Spell v. Edwards (2020)—During the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020, many governors passed orders that restricted the rights of churches to meet. In Louisiana, Pastor Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church faced criminal charges because he and his church continued to meet due to their religious convictions. The Foundation filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the Louisiana Governor had violated the rights of the pastor and church to meet under the Free Exercise Clause. This case is ongoing.
Religious Objections to the LGBT Agenda
Fulton v. City of Philadelphia (2019)—The City of Philadelphia passed a city ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that the ordinance required Catholics Social Services (“CSS”), a Catholic adoption ministry that places orphans with parents, to place children in homes with same-sex couples. CSS asked the Supreme Court to take its case. We filed an amicus brief in its support, arguing that not only should the Free Exercise Clause protect CSS in this case, but also that the Supreme Court needed to rethink some of its bad free-exercise precedents that led to the present case. After the Court granted certiorari, we filed another brief at the merits stage explaining why the bad free exercise precedent needed to be reconsidered.
Zodhiates v. United States (2019)—In 2000, Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins entered into a lesbian civil union in Vermont, and Lisa bore a child through artificial insemination. Shortly after that, Lisa repented, converted to Christianity, and moved with the child to Virginia. After a long court battle, the courts required Lisa to grant visitation to Janet, who was accused of sexually abusing the child. Lisa and the child then disappeared. The United States government believed that they fled the country and accused Philip Zodhiates, a Christian businessman, of helping them escape. Zodhiates was convicted of being an accomplice to kidnapping and was sent to prison. He asked the Supreme Court to review his case, claiming that the government obtained the information used to convict him in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Foundation filed an amicus brief supporting him, arguing that under the Supreme Court’s free-exercise and parental-rights precedents, Lisa had the constitutionally protected right to make the decision concerning the child’s custody. We argued that because Lisa committed no crime, Philip could not have been convicted as an accomplice and should be allowed to go free.
Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (2018)—Aaron and Melissa Klein ran a small bakery in Oregon and made custom wedding cakes. But when they declined to make custom cakes for same-sex weddings, the State of Oregon ran them out of business. The Kleins asked the Supreme Court to take their case. We filed an amicus brief supporting them, arguing that the Supreme Court needed to revisit some of its free exercise precedents that weakened protection for the Kleins.
Aloha Bed & Breakfast v. Cervelli (2018)—Phyllis Young, a retiree who lived in Hawaii, opened her home as a bed and breakfast, under the condition that all guests respect her house rules. One of those rules was that only a man and a woman who were married could sleep in a room together. When two lesbians were denied a stay for failure to abide by those rules, both they and the government of Hawaii sued Young and her bed and breakfast. After that Hawaii courts ruled against her, Young asked the Supreme Court to take her case. The Foundation filed an amicus brief supporting her, arguing that the First Amendment protected her right to run her bed and breakfast in accordance with her Christian faith.
Arlene’s Flowers v. State of Washington (2017-2019)—Baronelle Stutzman, a Christian florist from Washington State, declined to provide a custom floral arrangement for same-sex marriage because of her Christian faith. The Washington Supreme Court ruled against her, and she asked the United States Supreme Court to take her case. We filed an amicus brief supporting her, arguing that the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses protected her right to say no. The Supreme Court ruled in her favor and ordered the Washington Supreme Court to reconsider its decision. Unfortunately, the Washington Supreme Court ruled against her again! Stutzman asked the Supreme Court to take her case again, and we filed another amicus brief supporting her. We argued that not only is her right to say no protected by the Free Exercise Clause, but it was also protected by the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition of involuntary servitude.
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2016-2018)—Jack Phillips, a Christian baker in Colorado, declined to bake a custom cake for a same-sex marriage. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission held that he broke Colorado law, comparing his Christian faith to the Nazis and showing open contempt for his faith. When he asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take his case, this Foundation was the only organization to file an amicus brief in his support. When the Court granted certiorari, we filed another brief arguing that the First and Thirteenth Amendments protected Phillips’s right to decline to bake the cake. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in his favor (https://www NULL.supremecourt NULL.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-111_new2_22p3 NULL.pdf), providing a limited victory for religious liberty because of the Commissioners’ hostility towards Phillips’s faith.
In the Matter of Roy S. Moore, Chief Justice of Alabama (2003)—Complaint of the Judicial Inquiry Commission charging Chief Justice Moore with “bring[ing] the judicial office into disrepute” for failing to obey the federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building.
Roy S. Moore v. Judicial Inquiry Commission (2004)—The Foundation argued to the specially-appointed Supreme Court of Alabama that the Court of the Judiciary incorrectly removed him from his judicial office because he disobeyed an unlawful federal court order. The Alabama Supreme Court refused to address the issue of whether the order to remove the monument was unlawful and affirmed the Court of Judiciary’s punishment of removal from office for Chief Justice Moore.
Roy S. Moore v. Judicial Inquiry Commission of the State of Alabama (2004)—The Foundation argued in a petition to the United States Supreme Court that it should hear former Chief Justice Moore’s case concerning his removal from his judicial office because an unconstitutional religious test had been placed upon him and his position as Chief Justice had been taken without due process of law. The Supreme Court denied former Chief Justice Moore’s petition, ending his avenues of appeal concerning the loss of his position.
Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania (2019-20)—When President Trump came into office in 2017, he immediately directed the Department of Health and Human Services to create regulations that would exempt employers with religious or moral objections from Obamacare’s abortion mandate. Pennsylvania and New Jersey sued the President, and the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order of nuns, intervened to protect their rights. The trial court ruled against Trump and issued a nationwide injunction against him. The Third Circuit affirmed, and Trump and the Little Sisters petitioned for certiorari. The Foundation filed an amicus brief at the cert stage, arguing that (1) nationwide injunctions violate the doctrine of separation of powers, and (2) the Free Exercise Clause protected the Trump administration’s actions and the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Court granted certiorari, and we filed another amicus brief at the merits stage arguing mostly the same points.
Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell (2015)—The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order of nuns, was forced under Obamacare to provide contraceptives for their employees unless they went through an opt-out process. The Little Sisters argued that going through the bureaucratic process imposed a substantial burden on their free exercise of their religion. When their case reached the Supreme Court, the Foundation filed an amicus brief supporting them. Among other things, the Foundation argued that the government must defer to a person’s belief of whether their religion is burden by a government action or not.
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014)—After Congress passed Obamacare, the Department of Health and Human Services ordered employers to pay for abortion coverage for their employees. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a closely-held corporation run by Christians, argued that this order violated their religious freedom. When the Supreme Court agreed to take the case, we submitted an amicus brief in Hobby Lobby’s support. We argued that Obamacare as a whole was unconstitutional because it did not originate in the House of Representatives as the Constitution requires. We also argued that it violated the religious liberty of Hobby Lobby’s owners.
State of Florida v. Dept. of Health and Human Services (2012)—The Foundation argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that the ObamaCare health care law (the “Affordable Care Act”) violated the Tenth Amendment, and that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to require states to expand their Medicaid programs or require citizens to purchase health insurance.
R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC (2018-2020)—Thomas Rost, a Christian from Michigan, owned a funeral home. After a male funeral director informed Mr. Rost that he was “transitioning” to female and wanted to come to work dressed as a woman, Mr. Rost refused to let him do so. The EEOC sued Mr. Rost, claiming that he violated Title VII’s prohibition of “sex discrimination” in the workplace. Absurd as that argument was, the Sixth Circuit ruled against him. He asked the Supreme Court to take his case, and the Foundation filed an amicus brief supporting him. Among other things, we argued that Congress never intended for “sex discrimination” to apply to transgenderism when it passed Title VII. We also argued that interpreting “sex discrimination” that way would create an inevitable clash with religious liberty in the workplace. The Court granted certiorari, and we filed another amicus brief at the merits stage arguing the same points.
Trump v. Karnoski (2018)—Shortly into his first presidential term, President Trump issued new orders that largely banned transgenders from the military. Several transgender service members sued, and liberal trial courts issued nationwide injunctions forbidding the President from enforcing his orders. The President took the extraordinary step of asking the Supreme Court to review the cases before the intermediate courts heard the appeals. We filed an amicus brief supporting the President, warning about the harms of transgenderism and arguing that the courts should substantially defer to the military on matters of order and discipline. The Court ultimately declined to hear the case at that time but permitted the President to enforce his orders until the cases returned to the Supreme Court.
Kenosha Unified School District v. Whitaker (2017)—A transgender minor, who was biologically female, sued her school district after it denied her request to use the bathroom and locker room of her preference rather than the restroom of her biological sex. The Seventh Circuit ruled that public schools could not deny a transgender individual access to the bathroom and changing facilities of their choice. The school district asked the Supreme Court to take its case, and the Foundation filed an amicus brief in its support. We argued that the entire premise that people can change their sex is a myth and warning the Court of the harms of transgenderism.
Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. (2017)—For the first time in U.S. history, a federal appellate court ruled that under the Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX regulations, public schools had to let transgender children use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. The school board asked the Supreme Court to review the case, and we filed an amicus brief in its support. We warned the Court of the dangers of transgenderism and the inevitable clash with religious liberty. The Court agreed to take the case. But when the Trump administration came into power, the Department of Education changed directions and no longer held that Title IX regulations required that result. The Court dismissed the case as moot and ordered the Fourth Circuit to reevaluate its decision in light of the Trump administration’s policy. We filed an amicus brief on remand to the Fourth Circuit arguing essentially the same points that we did to the Supreme Court.