Friday, June 18, 2021

The Supreme Court

You know that I have something to say about yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on in the case of Fulton v. Philadelphia which will have far reaching impact on us and every minority in the US or will it.

There are some who say that the ruling is very narrow in its scope, that it only applies to that particular case.
Editorial: A narrow victory for religious freedom over gay equality
LA Times
June 17, 2021

Advocates of equal rights for same-sex couples feared the worst when the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of a Catholic agency that faced the loss of its city contract because it declined to work with gay and lesbian prospective foster parents. On Thursday, the justices ruled for the agency, but in a reassuringly narrow way that doesn’t create a gaping exception to anti-discrimination laws.

The court held that the city of Philadelphia violated the 1st Amendment rights of Catholic Social Services when it barred the agency from screening the parents. Citing its religious beliefs about marriage, the Catholic agency had refused to work with same-sex couples, though it was willing to refer such couples to other providers. (The agency also wouldn't certify unmarried heterosexual couples as foster parents.)
Thursday's ruling wasn't the landmark decision some hoped for and others feared. The court ruled unanimously for Catholic Social Services, but the majority opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., joined by five other members of the court, focused narrowly on the facts of the case.
In an Opinion in USA Today said…
It is a major win for religious rights and the Court spoke as one in reversing the lower courts with a strong majority opinion and concurring opinions. It also adds strength to other pending cases, including yet another case involving the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado to make cakes celebrating LGBT events.
The was also a narrow victory for the evangelical right but the right ran with it made it sound like a huge victory when in reality the case was won on a technicality because the state’s civil right’s commission brought religion into their discussion. I feel that the right will do the same in this case.

I fear that they will be citing this case for future discrimination.
Op-Ed: Giving people a license to discriminate because of their religious beliefs
LA Times
By Erwin Chemerinsky
June 17, 2021

Under long-standing constitutional law, religious beliefs do not provide an exemption from civil rights laws and cannot be used as an excuse for discrimination.

Yet the Supreme Court on Thursday in Fulton vs. City of Philadelphia ruled in favor of the ability of Catholic Social Services to participate in the city’s foster care program even though that organization discriminates based on sexual orientation. Although the grounds for the court’s unanimous ruling were narrow, the implications are broad and indicate a court that is inclined to allow discrimination based on religious beliefs.
In 1990, the court in Employment Division vs. Smith ruled that free exercise of religion does not provide an exemption from a generally applied law. In that case, the court rejected a claim by Native Americans — based on their religious beliefs — for an exemption from a state law prohibiting use of peyote. But the court also said that laws cannot discriminate against religion.
I fear that this decision is part of a trend toward expanding the protection of free exercise of religion at the expense of other crucial government interests. Earlier this year, the court found that California violated free exercise of religion when it limited the size of religious gatherings in homes, even though secular gatherings of the same size were restricted.
I also fear that this ruling will also be used by other to discriminate against other minorities. Could a religious freedom case also be used to prevent adoptions from interracial couples? The bible does say in Deuteronomy 7:3 that you shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons.

Or will it only apply to us?
Court's foster care ruling has experts, advocates split on potential LGBTQ impact
Critics of the ruling say it will embolden other religious social services providers to discriminate, while others say its impact will be muted.
NBC News
By Jo Yurcaba
June 17, 2021

Legal experts and advocates are split on what a decision Thursday by the Supreme Court on the rights of religious groups means for LGBTQ rights in the near term.

The court ruled unanimously in favor of Catholic Social Services, a religious adoption agency that wanted an exemption from Philadelphia's nondiscrimination law, which would have required the agency to allow LGBTQ couples to adopt.

Experts say the ruling was much narrower in scope than it could have been. The court could have ruled that religious social services providers contracted by governments are broadly exempt from nondiscrimination laws, which would have allowed them to refuse to serve LGBTQ people, among other groups.

Did you get the last part, “among other groups”?

But this ruling and the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling are chipping away at the Employment Division vs. Smith ruling and Lemon v. Kurtzman court rulings of when a law violates the First Amendment.
Fulton, like Masterpiece, was "a very process-based decision," Anthony Michael Kreis, assistant professor of law at Georgia State University, said.

"You have this kind of very specific decision that hones in on the city of Philadelphia's policy and how it was implemented, rather than a recrafting of rules across the board," Kreis said. "As a consequence, this really doesn't imperil all LGBTQ rights or civil rights, generally across the board, whether it be public accommodations or housing or employment."

The ruling isn't a victory for LGBTQ advocates, but it's important that the court "is consistently refusing to grant that type of broad license to discriminate," said Jennifer Pizer, law and policy director for Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ legal advocacy organization.
But you can bet your bottom dollar that the evangelicals will see this as a victory and be embolden.

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