Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Professor Jonathon Turley on Ninth Circuit / Catholic League Case

Liberal law Professor Jonathon Turley weighs in on the Catholic League case. Professor Turley says he agrees with the sentiment expressed by the city--but recognizes that to be a different issue from what the court had to decide:

"The resolution has the Board directly calling on Catholic leaders to defy the Cardinal and directly objects to the Vatican policy. That would seem to take an 'official position on religious doctrine.' I would be less concerned if the resolution solely addressed the Cardinals statement as hateful rhetoric as opposed to an official rejection of the religious based policy....

There is a good-faith debate as to whether such anti-discrimination laws violate the religion clauses. I would not criticize leaders participating in such a debate. However, the resolution in this case calls for defiance of the Cardinal and the removal of the policy."

The Professor also says:

"I have struggled with this case because I find the language of the resolution troubling — though not the sentiment."

But the "language of the resolution" is the resolution. And as the three judges who supported Catholic League pointed out, the sentiment does not matter--the resolution is what is at issue.

"Regardless of what the underlying motivation may be for the various individuals on the city council, a court must, in deciding whether a government action violates the Establishment Clause, read the words of the government enactment."

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