Search Results for Alexandra McPhee

  • Can a New Establishment Clause Jurisprudence Succeed in Protecting Religious Minorities Where Lemon Has Failed?

    by Alexandra McPhee

    March 21, 2019: Samantha Elauf was the face of the 2015 United States Supreme Court decision EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch,[1] which vindicated her right under Title VII to be free from religious discrimination in hiring because of her faith-based decision to wear a headscarf. In 1990, the Supreme Court decided that the Free Exercise Clause does not require exemptions from generally applicable laws in Employment Division v. Smith;[2] this decision, which denied Alfred Smith the right to use a controlled substance in a religious ceremony, resulted in the bipartisan passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to protect religious actions like Smith's at the national level. More than a century earlier, in 1860, Rabbi Morris Raphall was the first rabbi to deliver a prayer opening Congress' legislative session. "[P]iously bedecked in a white tallit and a large velvet skullcap," he invoked the blessing of "Lord God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob," thanked God for "establish[ing] a Commonwealth after a model of . . . the tribes of Israel, in their best and purest days," and gave a traditional blessing in Hebrew.[3] What do a Muslim millennial teenage girl, a middle-aged Klamath Native American man, and a nineteenth century rabbi have in common? They each exemplify the accommodation and acceptance of religious minorities in America under the law and in our nation's history.

  • Should the Peace Cross even be before the Supreme Court?

    by Alexandra McPhee

    March 05, 2019: If your loved one died in service to their country, how would you honor their memory? In Bladensburg, Md., a committee that included Gold Star mothers and veterans wanted to remember their fallen of World War I with a monument in the shape of a cross.

  • A Christian War Memorial in No Way Violates the Establishment Clause

    by Alexandra McPhee

    February 15, 2019: Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument from advocates for and against the preservation of a World War I-era veterans memorial, the Peace Cross, in Bladensburg, Md. The crux of the case, American Legion v. American Humanist Association, is the question whether a two-county commission offends the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution by maintaining the cross-shaped memorial.

  • What a Title IX Proposal Means for Religious Liberty

    by Alexandra McPhee

    February 12, 2019: Faith-based educational institutions might see a welcome change in federal regulations on the horizon. This week, the U.S. Department of Education concluded its public comment period for a proposed rule that would make several changes to federal regulations regarding the law known as Title IX, which prohibits sex-based exclusion from, denial of benefits by, or discrimination by any education program or activity receiving public assistance. As Family Research Council argues in its formal comment supporting the proposed rule, at least one recommended change means good things for faith-based universities' religious freedom rights.

  • When Free Exercise Comes at a Price

    by Alexandra McPhee

    January 24, 2019: This day and week mark the 233rd anniversary of Virginia's act for religious freedom, in which members of the 1786 General Assembly declared that "our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry." Can we still say the same today?

  • All I want for Christmas is a Supreme Court victory for public Christmas displays, crosses

    by Alexandra McPhee

    January 03, 2019: This time of year, public officials utter a collective groan as the steady stream of complaints about Christmas-themed events and displays spread their usual holiday mischief. In recent years, cities have been slapped with legal letters for displays of the nativity, like in Dover, Ravenna and Streetsboro, Ohio, and in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. A recent letter claimed that it was because the nativity would "confer endorsement and preference for one religion over others," and thus violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

  • Post-Midterm optimism for religious freedom

    by Alexandra McPhee

    November 27, 2018: Religious freedom and pro-life advocates will doubtless spend the next two years checking the radical left's agenda as it unfolds in the Democrat-controlled House. But we can still be encouraged by keeping the Senate. In doing so, we keep the momentum behind the confirmation of constitutionally conservative judges who will restore our religious freedom rights.

  • Is this cross too Christian? Only the Supreme Court can save these war monuments

    by Alexandra McPhee

    October 01, 2018: Very soon, the Supreme Court could announce its decision to hear an appeal over whether the 40-foot "Peace Cross" - as it is known by locals in Bladensburg, Md. - is too tall and too Christian for a government to own and maintain in accordance with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

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