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OUR ACTIVITIES

NLF Briefs • Briefings • Case Involvment • Minutemen Institute • Litigation
 

DEFENDING RELIGIOUS DISPLAYS

Green v. Haskell County (En Banc) (June 30, 2009) A Ten Commandments monument is still under fire in Oklahoma.  The NLF files a brief to try to convince the full Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case.

Slazar v. Buono (June 28, 2009)

Pleasant Grove City v. Summum (June 23, 2008)

Green v. Haskell County (March 22, 2007)

Staley v. Harris County Texas (December 19, 2006)

Paulson v. Abdelnour (July 31, 2006)

Card v. City of Everett (March 17, 2006)

Buono v. Norton (November 14, 2005)

Staley v. Harris County, TX (February 22, 2005)

Van Orden v. Perry (January 31, 2005).  We also filed a brief in the Texas Ten Commandments case.  In this brief, we made two arguments.  First, we showed that the ACLU and similar organizations are “blackmailing” towns and counties across America with the threat of huge attorneys fee awards in Establishment Clause cases and we explained how the Court could put a stop to this practice.  Second, we argued that Ten Commandments cases should we analyzed under the so-called Marsh test.  Four Justices agreed with our argument.  We made similar arguments in two other Ten Commandments cases, Books v. Elkhart (July 16, 2004) and ACLU v. Plattsmouth (July 26, 2004), as well as in a Bible monument case.

McCreary County v. ACLU (December 8, 2004).  In Kentucky, the ACLU sued to have several Ten Commandments displays removed.  The case ended up at the United States Supreme Court.  In our amicus brief we demonstrated to the Court that all ten of the Commandments had at various points been enacted into law during the history of our country.  The Ten Commandments truly are the cornerstone of our western legal heritage.

Glassroth v. Moore (March 19, 2003) The ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State filed a lawsuit seeking to keep the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court from keeping a three-ton monument of the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court building.  In March we filed an Amicus Curiae brief urging the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to overrule the U.S. District Court because the court failed to recognize the moral foundation of the law which was the Chief Justice’s purpose for erecting the monument.

ACLU of Kentucky v. McCreary County (November 2, 2001)McCreary County has displayed the Ten Commandments along with other political and patriotic documents.  The ACLU has brought suit, alleging that the Ten Commandments display constitutes an "endorsement" of religion since it allegedly has no secular purpose.  We believe that the ACLU's allegations are absurd and have filed an amicus brief that traces each commandment's historical impact on American law and jurisprudence.

 

DEFENDING RELIGION IN SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES

Palmer v. Waxahachie Independent School District (November 5, 2009)The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to apply a long-standing legal test that is very supportive of students’ free speech rights.  Instead it applied a much more restrictive test.  In this brief, we asked the Supreme Court to reverse this decision and protect the students’ rights..

Sherman v. Koch (October 20, 2009) An atheist activist thinks that it is unconstitutional for the school children of Illinois to have a moment of silence at the start of every school day.  We have filed a brief to explain that a moment of silence is constitutional! Read our brief here.

Alpha Delta Chi v. Reed (June 19, 2009)

Association of Christian Schools International v. Stearns (February 4, 2009)

Palmer v. Waxahachie Independent School District (December 23, 2008)

Morgan v. Plano Independent School District (November 4, 2008)

Corder v. Lewis-Palmer School District (October 23, 2008)

Croft v. Govenor of Texas (August 12, 2008)

Nuxoll v. Indian Prairie School District (February 21, 2008)

M.A.L. v. Kinsland (September 11, 2007)

Harper v. Poway Unified School District (December 28, 2006)

Christian Legal Society v. Kane (October 6, 2006)

Child Evangelism v. Montgomery County Public Schools (October 27, 2005)

Heinkel v. School Board of Lee County (September 1, 2005)

Wigg v. Sioux Falls School District (December 4, 2003)

Locke v. Davey (September 8, 2003).  The State of Washington developed a Promise Scholarship Program. Qualification for the program was based on high school grades. Joshua Davey qualified for the program but was denied the funds solely because he was studying theology from a Christian point of view!  We filed an Amicus Curiae brief asserting that the Founding Fathers and Framers of the Constitution intended for the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution to permit encouragement of religion and prohibit the type of hostility that the State of Washington is exhibiting towards religion.

Newdow v. U.S. Congress, et. al. (May 30, 2003). A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in June that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.  We filed an Amicus Curiae brief, urging the whole court to rehear the case due to the interest and importance of this case to the American people.  Subsequently, we filed an Amicus Curiae brief at the Supreme Court of the United States, urging the Court to hear the case because the Ninth Circuit ignored previous language by the Supreme Court, which said the Pledge was constitutional.  Finally, when the Supreme Court accepted the case, we filed another brief (December 19, 2003), explaining why the Pledge is constitutional.

Mellen v. Bunting (July 15, 2002).  Virginia Military Institute (VMI) had a custom of opening the evening meal with the corps chaplain reciting a short prayer. Two students sued the school, claiming the short prayers violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and their religious freedom.  Prayer in the military was conducted at the same time the First Amendment was adopted, and has continued throughout the history of this country. We filed an Amicus Curiae Brief in support of VMI, urging the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to apply a test that would say that since a practice occurred before the First Amendment was adopted it is presumptively constitutional since that practice still continued after the First Amendment became law.

Barrow v. Greenville Ind. Sch. Dist. (May 28, 2002).   A public school refused to consider a teacher for a promotion because she had enrolled her children in a private Christian school.  We filed an Amicus brief, urging the court to recognize that a parents’ right to control the education of their children is fundamental and that the state, acting as a public school employer, could not limit employee opportunity based on the exercise of her fundamental, constitutional rights.

Lassonde v. Pleasanton Unified School District (March 12 , 2002).  Nicolas Lassonde was asked to give the Salutatorian speech at his high school gradation ceremony, and the speech was censored based on its religious content. We filed an amicus brief in an effort to set a precedent that will help the Christian school students all across this nation.

Gernetzke v. Kenosha Unified School District (July 2001). 

 

DEFENDING RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE

Sherman v. Koch (October 20, 2009) An atheist activist thinks that it is unconstitutional for the school children of Illinois to have a moment of silence at the start of every school day.  We have filed a brief to explain that a moment of silence is constitutional!

World Wide Street Preachers Fellowship v. Town of Columbia (June 11, 2009) Policemen in Louisiana have been denying Christians the right to preach in public places.

City of Orlando v. First Vagabonds Church of God (March 18, 2009)

Netherland v. City of Zachary (May 29, 2008)

Byrne v. Rutledge (November 30, 2007)

Doe v. Tangipahoa Parish School District (March 21, 2007)

Weinbaum v. City of LasCruces (April 16, 2007)

Newdow v. United States Congress (December 4, 2006)

Roe v. Rio Linda Union School District (June 12, 2006)

Hinrichs v. Bosma (May 18, 2006)

Simpson v. Chesterfield County (March 24, 2004).  Chesterfield County, South Carolina, opens its town council meetings with prayer. When a witch wanted to participate the town refused.  She then sued the county.  We filed a brief defending the right of the county to continue to allow prayer while excluding the witch.  We believed that the county could legitimately say that prayers by witches are not part of the fabric of our society, but that other prayers are.  The Fourth Circuit agreed.

ACLU of Ohio v. Capital Square Review & Advisory Board (December 1997).   The Ohio State Motto is currently, "With God All Things are Possible." The ACLU believes this to be an impermissible "endorsement" of religion and attempted to force the state to adopt a new motto. We say this argument is absurd--the court agreed with us!
District Court Opinion of September 1, 1998

 

FIGHTING THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA

Godfrey v. Spano (September 2, 2009)
Even though New York’s High Court has declared that marriage means one man and one woman, the Westchester County Executive ordered county boards and agencies to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.  We are fighting this end run around the law.

N.B. v. A.K.(April 1, 2009)
Traditional marriage and family laws are under attack in Alabama from California laws that radically affirm homosexual “parental” rights!

Kulstad v. Maniaci (February 23, 2009)
NLF files a brief in the Montana Supreme Court to help prevent the court from forcing a mother to yield visitation rights of her children to her former lesbian partner.

Strauss, et al. v. Horton, et al. (January 14, 2009)
After the California Supreme Court declared homosexuals could marry, voters amended the state Constitution to prohibit homosexual marriage.  Then activists tried to have the amendment declared unconstitutional.  This time the Supreme Court ruled correctly by refusing to undo the amendment.

Pedreira v. Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children (September 30, 2008)

Lewis v. New York State Department of Civil Service (July 1, 2008)

Varnum v. Brien (January 28, 2008)

Miller-Jenkins v. Miller-Jenkins (October 22, 2007)

In re: Marriage Cases (September 17, 2007)

C. O'Darling v. S. O'Darling (September 4, 2007)

Chambers v. Ormiston (July 31, 2007)

Witt v. United States Department of the Air Force (January 10, 2007)

Cook v. Rumsfeld (January 4, 2007)

Conway v. Deane (September 1, 2006)

State of Conneticut v. John M.(August 4, 2006)

Britain v. Carvin (April 3, 2006)

Lewis v. Harris (at the NJ Supreme Court) (November 11, 2005)

Smelt v. County of Orange (October 21, 2005)

Citzens for Equal Protection, Inc. v. Bruning (September 12, 2005)

Samuels v. New York State Department of Health (July 28, 2005)

Rumsfeld v. F.A.I.R. (July 16, 2005)

Lewis v. Harris (December 3, 2004)

F.A.I.R. v. Rumsfeld (February 26, 2004).  Under a federal law—the so-called Solomon Amendment—colleges and universities that receive federal grant money must allow military recruiters on campus.  The law applies to law schools as well.  Many law schools object to the Solomon Amendment because they dislike the military’s “don’t ask; don’t tell” policy concerning homosexuality.  Therefore various law schools and other organizations and individuals sued to have the Solomon Amendment declared unconstitutional.  They want to be able to keep taxing federal money while at the same time banning military recruiters.  We filed a brief arguing that the Solomon Amendment is constitutional.  After we filed the brief the Third Circuit Court of Appeals invited us to participate in the oral argument of the case.  The National Legal Foundation was represented at the oral argument by Howard Bashman.  Subsequently, we filed an Amicus Curiae brief at the Supreme Court of the United States on July 16, 2005.

Snetsinger v. Montana University System (November 10, 2003). The Montana University System had a policy that provided for insurance benefits only for employees’ immediate families, which meant spouses and children. Several lesbian employees who wanted benefits for their partners claimed that the statute was unconstitutional since it did not allow them to receive the same benefits as people who were married.  We filed an Amicus Curiae brief at the Montana Supreme Court in October supporting the university system and explaining why the policy was constitutional.

Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, et al (December 2002).

Burns v. Burns (August 2001).

Baker and Harrigan v. Vermont (May 1998).  Three same-sex couples sought a marriage license from the State of Vermont. When they were denied these licenses, they filed suit, under the Vermont State Constitution.
Case Update
Summary of Case

Baehr v. Miike (1991).  In April, 1991, three homosexual couples applied for marriage licenses in the State of Hawaii. Their applications were denied, and this suit claiming discrimination by the State of Hawaii followed.
Case Summary
Hawaii Supreme Court Opinion of January 23, 1996

 

DEFENDING THE UNBORN

 

Havard v. County of Wayne (November 18, 2009) A jail refused to give pre-natal care to a prisoner.  When the baby was born with severe birth defects, the jail tried to escape liability by invoking the awful Roe v. Wade opinion to claim the baby was not a “person” until after it was born.  We argued in our brief that the baby was entitled to protection despite Roe v. Wade.

Roach v. Davis (July 23, 2008)

Brown v. City of Pittsburg (July 9, 2008)

Storman's, Inc. v. Selecky (April 22, 2008)

Aid for Women v. Foulston (November 30, 2006)

Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood (August 3, 2006)

Gonzalez v. Carhart (May 22, 2006)

Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (August 8, 2005)

When Congress passed the Partial Birth Abortion ban, Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and others immediately sued in multiple federal courts to have the ban declared unconstitutional.  We filed amicus briefs—all very similar—in three different federal courts. The cases are Carhart v. Ashcroft (December 8, 2004), Planned Parenthood v. Ashcroft (December 29, 2004), and National Abortion Federation v. Ashcroft.

Women's Emergency Network, et. al. v. Bush, et. al. (October 15, 2002).  The Women’s Emergency Network (WEN) and two individual plaintiffs filed suit in Florida challenging the Florida legislature’s decision to create a prestige license plate containing the words "Choose Life." The money collected from the fee for these plates is distributed to organizations supporting alternatives to abortion. Some counties in Florida have delegated to Catholic Charities the responsibility of distributing the funds from the plates to the appropriate organization. The individual plaintiffs claimed that allowing county money to be spent on delegating this task to a religious organization violates the Establishment Clause. The individual plaintiffs were suing as taxpayers, claiming they were injured by this expenditure of county funds.   The National Legal Foundation filed an Amicus Curiae brief, Women's Emergency Network, et. al. v. Bush, et. al., responding to the individual plaintiffs claims. We urged the court to adopt a test to determine when a taxpayer in the community can challenge an expenditure of county funds. Most importantly this test would require that a taxpayer show that a specific, substantial amount of money is actually being spent on the activity the taxpayer is claiming to be unconstitutional. It is only when a county taxpayer meets this test that he can bring an action against the state for an expenditure he claims violates the Establishment Clause. Should the court adopt this test it will help shut the door to lawsuit by radical secularists who try to use the Establishment Clause as a tool to strip all recognition of religion from our society.

 

FIGHTING PORNOGRAPHY

ACLU v. Gonzales (September 26, 2007)

United States v. Williams (September 11, 2007)

Ashcroft v. ACLU (December 10, 2003).  The United States government has gone through quite a battle trying to protect children from online pornography. After the Supreme Court struck down its first attempt to limit internet pornographers, Congress passed the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). The American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of a group of pornographers, challenged COPA as unconstitutional.  In December 2003, we filed an Amicus Curiae brief at the Supreme Court supporting the government and urging the Court to find the law constitutional.

Ashcroft v. ACLU (July 27, 2001). 

Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition (April 22, 2001). 

 

  PROTECTING CHURCHES AND CHURCH AUTONOMY

City of Orlando v. First Vagabonds Church of God (March 2009)
The NLF files a brief in the Eleventh Circuit seeking to help a pastor continue ministering to homeless people in a public park in Florida.

Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church v. Unsworth A Federal court rules that a Montana church can make political petitions available without interference from the state.

Hankins v. New York Annual Conference (May 27, 2008)

Sephardic Congregation v. Town of Rampo (June 28, 2007)

Petruska v. Gannon University (July 18, 2006)

Evangel Baptist Church v. Mifflin Board of Assessment Appeals (August 30, 2002). Pennsylvania allows tax exemption to buildings when their primary purpose is worship. Evangel Baptist Church owns two buildings outside of the main church building. One is a Family Life Center and the other is a residential home used for Sunday School classes and to house visiting missionaries. The Mifflin County Board of Assessment Appeals denied tax exemption to these buildings despite the recognition that prayer and Christian teaching occurred in these buildings.  We wrote an Amicus Curiae Brief in support of Evangel Baptist Church, urging the court to find that prayer and Christian teaching are acts of worship and that, therefore, the buildings should be tax exempt. The taxation of church property is of increasing concern in this country.

Warren v. Commissioner (May 3, 2002).  In this case, a federal judge asked for special briefing on whether the IRS provision dealing with tax benefits for a pastor's parsonage allowance violates the Establishment Clause.  Our brief argues that the provision is squarely within the American tradition of accommodating religion and is completely constitutional.

 

  PROTECTING PARENTAL RIGHTS

In re: Rachel L. (May 19, 2008)

Port Washington Teachers' Assoication v. Board of Education (September 12, 2006)

 

  OTHER WAYS WE ARE DEFENDING TRADITIONAL VALUES

Campaign for California Families v. Newsom (June 4, 2009) Homosexual activists have convinced a California court to make a group that supports traditional marriage pay court costs—even though that group was not a party to the litigation.  The financial ramifications for Christian ministries could be huge.

Bowman v. United States of America (December 20, 2007)

Gillard v. Kuykendall (April 5, 2007)

Fields v. Brown (October 27, 2006)

Americans United for Separation of Church and State v. Prision Fellowship Ministries (September 22, 2006)

 

 

 


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© 2006 by the National Legal Foundation & Minuteman Institute