By Kelly Shackelford, President, CEO and Chief Counsel
As the Supreme Court of the United States returns to in-person arguments, the only audience allowed will be on the other side of live-streamed audio. All ears will be tuned to One First Street, NE, as the justices consider several cases impacting our constitutional rights.
All eyes are on Dec. 1 when the justices hear one of the most consequential arguments in decades: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case is billed as yet another opportunity for the Justices to reconsider Roe v. Wade, one of the most controversial decisions in U.S. history. Depending on the outcome, the case could very well reset the national dialogue over abortion.
The very next week, the court will hear arguments in Carson v. Makin. Our friends at Institute for Justice are lead counsel in the case, asking the court to reverse a lower court decision that allows the state of Maine to fund otherwise generally-available student aid to families unless they attend a religious school.
Our firm, First Liberty Institute, is co-counsel on this case because we believe such religious discrimination has no place in our country. It stands against the very principles of our promised freedom to exclude families who qualify for the needed educational assistance in every way, except that their students learn the ABC’s and 123’s at a religious, rather than secular, school.
Even before these two big cases are argued, critical issues touching the First and Second Amendments will be heard first.
On Nov. 1, the case of a death-row inmate denied the presence of a minister at his execution will determine whether Texas violated the free exercise clause of the First Amendment and Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”). Ramirez v. Collier reminds us that, even in the most extreme moments – death row – Americans are not deprived of their right to exercise their faith.
Two days later the court considers argument in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, a challenge to New York’s law demanding the showing of a good reason before issuing a license to carry a firearm.
While these are the major cases we know about so far, other petitioners await learning whether their case will even be heard.
For instance, First Liberty appealed a case where the City of Fredericksburg asserts that its interpretation of the Presbyterian Book of Church Order is more accurate than the Presbyterian Church in America’s. That is a problem.
Government officials have no right to substitute their theology for the church’s. We are proud to represent New Life in Christ Church and hope the Supreme Court reverses Fredericksburg’s unconstitutional decision.
Note: This article was first published on Fox News and is re-published here with permission. The article presents the main points of an op-ed published in Fox News. This work was authored by Kelly Shackelford. The full article can be found on the Fox News website, here.