Bonnie Pritchett

Bonnie reports on First Amendment freedoms for WORLD Digital.

Getty Images/Photo by Alex Edelman

Keeping liberty waiting

Religious Liberty | First Amendment cases may not get a Supreme Court hearing until a ninth justice is seated
by Bonnie Pritchett
Posted 9/25/18, 05:04 pm

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue a list of cases initially accepted for arguments in the 2018-19 session. From close to 2,000 petitions, the court will accept only a handful. And until a ninth justice is seated to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, experts predict the eight-justice court could steer clear of important cases with First Amendment implications, many united by one question: Will America’s pluralistic society tolerate public expressions of Christian faith?

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Against their better judgment

Religious Liberty | U.S. Circuit judges call for a full court reversal of their own decision
by Bonnie Pritchett
Posted 9/18/18, 05:10 pm

A Florida city this week called on the U.S. Supreme Court to allow a 75-year-old cross monument to stand. The appeal came after a federal appeals court earlier this month reluctantly ruled against Pensacola, Fla. In a 3-0 decision in Kondrat’Yev v. Pensacola, a panel of judges on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said their hands were tied by precedent in upholding a decision that the cross on city property violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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Associated Press/Photo by Danny Johnston

Liberty behind bars

Religious Liberty | Officials and the courts are grappling with how to maintain security and protect religious liberties in prisons
by Bonnie Pritchett
Posted 9/11/18, 02:23 pm

In 2015, Arkansas inmate Gregory Holt was the first person in the United States to successfully invoke the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) to defend his religious liberty as a prisoner all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In Holt v. Hobbs, the high court unanimously ruled Holt should be allowed to grow a half-inch beard as a demonstration of his Muslim faith.

Congress passed RLUIPA in 2000, and though Liberties has often covered the “Religious Land Use” portion of the act, the “Institutionalized Persons” portion is seldom referenced.

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