ACRU: Leave Clergy Housing Allowance Alone

Freedom from Religion Foundation is "trying to use the federal courts to destroy religious freedom and independence from government control," said American Civil Rights Union Chairman Susan A. Carleson. Washington, D.C. (April 14, 2014) — An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule allowing clergy to have a tax-exempt housing allowance is a reasonable accommodation of religion, not an unconstitutional establishment of religion, the ACRU argued in a federal court brief filed on April 9.The brief, filed by ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Kenneth A. Klukowski on behalf of the Liberty Institute, asks the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb [...]

ACRU: ObamaCare Violates Freedom of Religion

Brief filed on behalf of Liberty University says the cost of defying abortion order would be "crippling."ALEXANDRIA, VA (Oct. 15, 2013) — In an amicus brief submitted on October 9, the American Civil Rights Union asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case brought by Liberty University. Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, the Christian college contends that forcing it through the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) to fund employee health insurance that covers abortions is unconstitutional.In Liberty University v. Lew, Sibelius, et al, the ACRU brief, written by General Counsel Peter Ferrara, notes that, "if Liberty University fails to comply with the employer mandate of the Act, and [...]

Symposium: Time to Restore Longstanding Meaning—and Sanity—to the Establishment Clause in Town of Greece v. Galloway

This column by ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Ken Klukowski was published October 3, 2013 on SCOTUSblog.com.Town of Greece v. Galloway is a major Establishment Clause case involving legislative prayer. If the Supreme Court takes this opportunity—as it should—to replace both the manifestly unworkable original Lemon test and its equally unworkable revision, the endorsement test, with a historically grounded, principled, and objective coercion test, then this case will be of tremendous benefit to the law and the nation.Those who believe in fidelity to the Constitution and democratic self-rule should hope for nothing less. And although an easy way to make a fool of oneself is to make Supreme [...]

ACRU Asks Supreme Court to Strike Campaign Finance Limits

Political speech should have higher protection than "pornography, nude dancing and abortion," brief says.WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 13, 2013) -- In an amicus brief filed May 8, the American Civil Rights Union argues that limits on campaign donations infringe on freedom of speech.Written by ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara, the brief in Shaun McCutcheon and Federal Election Committee v. Federal Election Commission sides with plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon, who is appealing a September ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upholding the federal campaign contribution law.Mr. McCutcheon had wanted to donate more money to three Republican organizations in 2012 but ran up against a federal [...]

ACRU Urges Supreme Court to Adopt ‘Coercion Test’

March 14 - In an amicus brief submitted today to the U.S. Supreme Court, the American Civil Rights Union argues for a new constitutional standard protecting religious freedom.The case, Mount Soledad Memorial Association v. Steve Trunk, et al, involves the cross at the Mt. Soledad veterans memorial in San Diego, which the ACLU and other groups want torn down. The Court may decide to hear the case later this year.The ACRU's argument - the 'Coercion Test' - is that public religious expression does not violate the Constitution's prohibition against establishment of religion unless it involves coercion. ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara, author of the brief, which asks [...]

ACRU Brief Argues for 'Coercion Test' in Utah Highway Cross Case

May 23, 2011 - Memorial crosses honoring fallen Utah Highway Patrol Officers are not an unconstitutional establishment of religion because there is no coercion involved, the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) argues in an amicus curiae brief filed today in the U.S. Supreme Court.The ACRU's brief in support of the Petitioners in Davenport et al. v. American Atheists, Inc., urges the Court to grant certiorari to review the ruling of the Tenth Circuit finding the cross memorials to be an unconstitutional establishment of the Christian religion."This case presents an opportunity for an historic, landmark ruling that will return Establishment Clause law to the language and history of [...]

ACRU Defends Marriage in California

On September 24, 2010, the American Civil Rights Union filed a amicus brief defending marriage in the appeal of the same-sex marriage case Perry v. Schwarzenegger. The people of California voted to amend the California Constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and woman, ensuring that California would hold to the same concept of marriage as it has always existed in America and through all of human history worldwide. In August 2010, a federal district court in San Francisco declared that the U.S. Constitution contained a previously-undetected right to same-sex marriage, and struck down this part of the California Constitution, ordering that same-sex marriages [...]

ACRU Joins Effort to Protect Prayer

A federal judge in Wisconsin held in April that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional as a violation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause. On July 7, ACRU joined a brief coauthored by ACRU Fellow and Senior Legal Analyst Ken Klukowski that makes the case as to how and why a National Day of Prayer is perfectly acceptable to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, though, the brief makes the case as to why this lawsuit should just be dismissed without even considering the constitutional challenge, because the plaintiffs, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and several affiliated individuals, lack standing to bring this suit [...]

COMMITTEE TO RECALL ROBERT MENENDEZ v. NINA WELLS, SECRETARY OF STATE, ET AL.

February 9, the American Civil Rights Union filed an amicus brief in support of a grassroots citizens effort to petition for recall of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).The Sussex County Tea Party and NJ Tea Parties United, which filed the original petition request to gather signatures as The Committee to Recall Senator Robert Menendez from the United States Senate, contend that Menendez has violated his oath of office by voting for unconstitutional measures such as the attempted government health care takeover bill.The New Jersey Secretary of State at the time rebuffed the request. So the matter is in court. Menendez is up for re-election in 2012. A successful [...]