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Can gov't withhold benefits from churches? Supreme Court will decide

Can gov't withhold benefits from churches? Supreme Court will decide

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito vigorously defended Trinity Lutheran's right to the funds, and Justice Anthony Kennedy appeared very troubled by the Missouri rule.

Even some of the court's liberal justices expressed concern that the state had drawn too hard of a line in barring a day-care and preschool site from the program simply because it is controlled by a church, Trinity Lutheran in Columbia.

Religious freedom is not something to toy with - even on the playground.

The decision eventually is expected to impact the fight that is erupting all across the nation - whether state education funds can go to school voucher programs that include religious schools.

Officials said then that the state constitutional ban on funding for "any church, sect or denomination of religion" constrained them.

The Republican governor said he didn't think his order would impact the Trinity Lutheran case.

Here's the rub. Last week, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens issued a directive that allowed "religious organizations to apply for state Department of Natural Resources grants", and in turn the DNR is to consider such applications without prejudice. The program funds the recycling of scrap tires into more forgiving, rubberized surfaces for playgrounds. We are just asking to not be treated worse than everyone else.

That raised a question for the Court about whether the case was still active- and today's hearing is likely to begin with that issue.

Supporters of the church believe they will prevail and the court will hold that once the state creates a program similar to Missouri's Playground Scrap Tire Surface Material Grant Program, it can be required to include religious schools.

What does this have to do with Colorado?

More than 90 percent of the children who go to the preschool do not attend the church. The Colorado Court cited the Blaine amendment in its ruling.

The case is scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday.

NCAA Championships Coming To North Carolina
The 2019 championship will be held on either November 9 or 10, and the 2021 championship will be held on either Nov. 6 or 7. The NBA jacked this year's All-Star Game from Charlotte and relocated it to New Orleans due to the law as well.

The high court had delayed hearing the case for almost a year after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, perhaps because of fears the eight remaining justices would split along ideological lines, as they have in some cases involving religious liberties.

This story will be updated after oral arguments take place.

But the justices appeared sympathetic to the church Wednesday, the Post said.

"In essence, the church is arguing that states can't specifically exempt religious organizations from grant programs that it chooses to provide", said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor of law at the University of Texas School of Law.

But one of the church's attorneys, David Cortman, insisted that the case is still relevant because Greitens' move does not "resolve the discriminatory actions that were taken" by the state. In contrast, despite the Establishment Clause, Trinity and its allies would have the Court require state support of churches and other houses of worship.

Comer, calls into question the state's application of that provision, which the church claims violates the federal Constitution.

Rassbach said further that if the Supreme Court upheld the state's argument, "It would be open season on Catholic institutions".

Trinity Lutheran's insistence that its playground resurfacing project is secular does not solve the problem, adds the state, because money is fungible, and because the church's religious intent is stated specifically in the Learning Center's mission.

Seven of them - all but Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg - spoke in favor of the church's position.

Yes, replied Cortman, because the school has "a free exercise right to religious autonomy, to decide who their members are". The program was created to assist non-profit organizations in updating their playgrounds and making them safer, but because the Missouri constitution prohibits state money from going to religious organizations, Trinity Lutheran's application was denied.

Some organizations say a ruling in the church's favor could break the final barrier to school choice programs such as vouchers, which give parents of students enrolled in public schools the option to receive a voucher to cover part or all of the costs of private school tuition.

Reed stated, "If essentially secular programs are allowed to be banned for people of faith simply due to their religious faith, that's a pretty bad precedent to set that could be used by governments at the state and local level to discriminate against religion in all kinds of other ways".

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