Supreme Court dismisses proceedings over Trump and Twitter critics

New York Times

Extraordinary winning streak for religion in the Supreme Court

Washington — “For many today, religious freedom is not an important freedom,” Judge Samuel Alito told the Federalist Association, a conservative legal group, in November. “It’s hard to say this, but in certain areas religious freedom is rapidly becoming a disadvantage.” According to a new study considering 70 years of data, these areas have recently been religions. It does not include the Supreme Court, which is much more likely to make decisions in favor of religion. Published in a Supreme Court review signing up for a morning newsletter from the New York Times, the study found that the proportion of religion-supporting decisions in orally discussed cases increased by 35 percentage points to 81 percent. Documented the success rate in court led by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts. “Clearly, the Roberts Court ruled that religious groups, including mainstream Christian organizations, were supported more often than their predecessors,” said study authors Lee Epstein of Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Chicago. Eric A. Posner writes. .. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement with Amy Coney Barrett could not end this trend quickly and could accelerate it.” The type of case heard by the court has also changed. In the Warren Court, all religion-supporting decisions benefited minority or opposition practitioners. In Roberts’ courts, most religious claims were made by mainstream Christians. According to the survey, all five judges who are most in favor of religion are sitting in the current court. “The main judges responsible for this shift are Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh,” the study author wrote. “There are some differences between these judges, and Kavanaugh has been involved in only a handful of cases, but he is clearly most in favor of religion in the Supreme Court, which dates back to at least World War II. I’m a judge. “Everyone is a Republican appointed person. In the last semester alone, the court upheld Christian religious groups in three controversial cases. Courts need to include religious programs in state programs that support private schools, and the Trump administration allows religiously dissenting employers to refuse to apply contraception to female workers And ruled that the Employment Discrimination Act does not apply to many teachers in religious schools. And the court will soon decide whether Philadelphia’s refusal to work with same-sex couples will ban Catholic institutions from screening for potential foster parents. After Barrett joined the court, it changed his position on one question that religious groups had lost, whether the governor could restrict attendance at the place of worship to address the coronavirus pandemic. In the case of constitutional protection of the free exercise of religion, there were similar changes in federal justice as a whole. As Arito pointed out in his speech, protecting that right was once a bipartisan commitment. In 1990, when the Supreme Court reduced the protection of the free movement and Judge Antonin Scalia wrote a majority opinion, Congress responded with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “The law had almost universal support,” Arito said. “In the House of Representatives, the vote was unanimous. In the Senate, it was only 97-3, and the bill was enthusiastically signed by President Clinton.” Covered 1996-2005 and 2006-2015. Early studies found that judges’ unanimous affiliation was not significantly linked to voting in the Free Movement case, as reflected in the president’s party that appointed the judge. Zalman Rothschild, a Fellow at the Stanford University Constitution Center, updated the data in a second survey and published it in the Cornell Law Review. He noticed that things had changed. “The politicization of religious freedom has permeated all levels of federal justice,” Rothschild wrote. In the five years to the end of 2020, he wrote that federal judges’ partisanship became strongly correlated with their votes. “And when a pandemic broke out and religious places of worship were widely blocked, an unprecedented number of constitutional free movement cases that brought about such a condensed period brought the party to a sharp salvation. I drove him away, “he wrote. Aside from the pandemic case, the free movement case opened a big partisan gap. Judges appointed by the Democratic Party have a 10% chance of supporting religion in such cases over the past five years. In contrast, 49% of judges were appointed by the Republican Party and 72% were appointed by former President Donald Trump. The Rothschilds wrote that the number was even worse in the case of restrictions intended to fight COVID-19. Until the end of last year, none of the judges appointed by the Democratic Party supported religion, but 66% of the judges appointed by the Republican Party and 82% of the judges appointed by Trump. What has changed in the last 5 years? It is probably no coincidence that the court established the constitutional rights of same-sex marriage in 2015. More generally, religious freedom claims, primarily brought about by Christian groups, are increasingly being used to try to limit progressive measures such as the protection of transgender rights and contraception. Access to. What’s more, a cultural war broke out on the best way to deal with the coronavirus. In 2018, Judge Elena Kagan accused the court’s conservative majority of “armed with the First Amendment” for using the protection of freedom of expression to “intervene in economic and regulatory policies.” .. Epstein said similar things were underway in the court’s religious decision. “It uses religious clauses primarily to privilege mainstream religious groups, just as the majority armed freedom of speech for business and conservative interests,” she said. This article was originally published in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company