October 2016 SCA Judicial Update

Presented by our member organization the American Humanist Association

 

AHLC and Local Citizens Sue New Jersey Mayor for Installing Christian Cross Display

(Roselle Park, NJ, Sept. 27, 2016)-Today the American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of local citizens challenging an unconstitutional display featuring a Christian cross in front of a public library in Roselle Park, New Jersey.

The complaint is filed against the Borough of Roselle Park and Mayor Carl Hokanson, who had the cross display installed by Department of Public Works employees. The display prominently features a Christian cross silhouette with a soldier kneeling in front of it. Local citizens voiced their concerns that the cross on public property violated the separation of church and state, but the mayor ignored their objections. They then reported the display to the American Humanist Association, which sent a warning letter to the Borough in August. In response, the Borough council members voted to keep the cross display.

To read more, visit:http://www.humanistlegalcenter.org/single-post/2016/09/27/AHLC-Sues-New-Jersey-Mayor-for-Installing-Christian-Cross-Display

 

AHLC and Humanist Inmate Sue Nevada Department of Corrections

(Carson City, NV, Oct. 6, 2016)-The American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center (AHLC) filed suit against the Nevada Department of Corrections and its head chaplain on behalf of a humanist inmate who is unconstitutionally being discriminated against for his humanist convictions.

Benjamin Espinosa is a member of the American Humanist Association and an inmate at Northern Nevada Correctional Center outside Carson City, Nevada. As a humanist, Espinosa seeks to form a study group in which he and other inmates who share his worldview can meet and discuss humanism on the same terms as theistic groups. Espinosa also wishes to identify as a humanist for assignment purposes. However, the Nevada Department of Corrections does not include humanism or atheism in its list of recognized faith groups. Over a two-year period, Espinosa's requests for humanist accommodations have been repeatedly ignored or denied.

 

To read more, visit: http://americanhumanist.org/news/details/2016-10-give-nevada-humanist-inmates-equal-treatment-humanis

 

AHLC and Humanist Inmate Sue Nevada Department of Corrections

(Carson City, NV, Oct. 6, 2016)-The American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center (AHLC) filed suit against the Nevada Department of Corrections and its head chaplain on behalf of a humanist inmate who is unconstitutionally being discriminated against for his humanist convictions.

Benjamin Espinosa is a member of the American Humanist Association and an inmate at Northern Nevada Correctional Center outside Carson City, Nevada. As a humanist, Espinosa seeks to form a study group in which he and other inmates who share his worldview can meet and discuss humanism on the same terms as theistic groups. Espinosa also wishes to identify as a humanist for assignment purposes. However, the Nevada Department of Corrections does not include humanism or atheism in its list of recognized faith groups. Over a two-year period, Espinosa's requests for humanist accommodations have been repeatedly ignored or denied.

 

For more, visit: http://americanhumanist.org/news/details/2016-10-give-nevada-humanist-inmates-equal-treatment-humanis


Court rules that Catholic Church lot in downtown Madison must be taxed

A Dane County judge has ruled that the Catholic Church must pay taxes on a multimillion-dollar lot it owns in downtown Madison.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Rhonda Lanford decided on Oct. 4 that a 1.3-acre lot in Madison owned by the Catholic Church is not exempt from property taxes. The Church sued the city last year to recover taxes it paid on the lot, which amount to nearly $100,000 per year.

FFRF filed an amicus curiae brief in June supporting the city of Madison. FFRF's brief questioned how St. Raphael's could retain an exemption while it was really just holding on to the lot as a future site of a $50 million cathedral.

For more, visit: https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/27683-court-rules-that-catholic-church-lot-in-downtown-madison-must-be-taxed


Federal Court To Hear Arguments In Brevard County Legislative Prayer Case Oct. 5

A federal court on Oct. 5 will hear oral arguments in an important lawsuit challenging legislative prayer practices in Brevard County, Fla.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed the lawsuit in July 2015 on behalf of multiple plaintiffs.

For more, visit: https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/27612-federal-court-to-hear-arguments-in-brevard-county-legislative-prayer-case-oct-5

 

En Banc 4th Circuit to Hear Meeting Prayer Case

The Fourth Circuit granted en banc review to the question of whether lawmaker-led prayers before a county commission meeting are constitutional.  In filing the case, Lund v. Rowan County, North Carolina, the American Civil Liberties Union argued the brief prayer said before meetings of the county commission violates the First Amendment's protection of religious liberty.

For more, visit: http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/11/02/en-banc-4th-circuit-to-hear-meeting-prayer-case.htm

Or AU's blog: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/a-bad-nc-prayer-ruling-will-get-another-hearing


 

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