Born in Texas, Katherine is now a lawyer in the northwestern United States.
Tennessee Technological University (TTU) requires all non-students who wish to speak (or preach) on campus to follow detailed regulations which require, among other things, a two-week advanced notice. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals recently held (PDF) that a non-student evangelist — John McGlone — may challenge TTU’s campus speech regulations, and this is a big deal. So what’s going on here? First, realize that to bring suit in federal court, you have to have “standing.” The court determines… Read more
This week has produced two exciting pieces of news, although (sadly) neither one pertains to the United States. First, Italy is strongly considering charging the Vatican property taxes on all non-church properties. The Vatican owns quite a bit of commercial property in Italy, including hostels, hospitals, etc., but doesn’t pay property taxes on any of it. Churches would still be exempt, but this proposal could raise millions — or even billions — of Euros a year if implemented. Tax benefits for… Read more
A Utah man convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to death has appealed his conviction, arguing in part that potential jurors were discriminated against on the basis of their religion. After Von Lester Taylor pled guilty to murdering a mother and her daughter, a jury sentenced him to death. Taylor now claims that one juror should have been disqualified due to his belief in “blood atonement” and that the entire jury selection process was invalid because evidence… Read more
As part of President Obama’s health care reform, almost all employers will be required to provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control free of charge. That includes religiously-affiliated organizations, too. The Obama administration announced it will provide these religious institutions with an extra year to meet the requirement, but will not completely exempt any institutions other than churches from the contraception requirement. Some of those institutions, such as Catholic hospitals and religious universities, have requested… Read more
In the recently-decided Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, the Supreme Court held (PDF) that “ministers” cannot sue their churches under federal employment discrimination laws. For background on this case, see this previous post. Relying heavily on the history of the Constitution, the Court explained that the First Amendment was designed, in part, “to ensure that the new Federal Government — unlike the English Crown — would have no role in filling ecclesiastical offices.” The… Read more