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Cross Theft Lesson: Government Neutrality On Religion Helps Prevent Interfaith Conflict

Earlier this week, we heard reports that someone had stolen the Latin cross that was the subject of the recent Supreme Court decision, Salazar v. Buono.

As you may recall, Justice Anthony Kennedy issued an opinion that likely paves the way for the religious symbol to remain in the Mojave National Preserve. He said that the cross was not merely a religious symbol, but could serve as a memorial for all those who have fought for our country.

The High Court And The Church-State Wall: Betsy Ross, Meet Sandra Day O'Connor

Prayers and patriotic songs reverberated through the air as I made my way to the Supreme Court yesterday morning. I exchanged a reticent glance with the police officer stationed outside the Library of Congress (just a block away), and he chuckled, as if to read my mind.

"Things are getting crazy over there," he warned, as I dug my notepad from my bag.

"Big case," I responded.

A Cross – The Great Divide: Justices Seem Split On Calif. Religious Symbol Case

I spent the morning at the Supreme Court attending oral arguments in Salazar v. Buono – a case focusing on a cross on display in the Mojave National Preserve in California.

I'm not going to pretend I understand all of the ins and outs of this complex case because I'm not a lawyer. I rely on AU's legal team to do that. But I did garner a few impressions from the argument.

Supreme Prejudice: Scalia Says Government Can Promote Religion

The U.S. Supreme Court is gearing up to come back into session Oct. 5, and just in time for that, Justice Antonin Scalia has decided to pop off in the media about how much he hates church-state separation – again!

In what is billed as an "Historic Exclusive Interview" in the Brooklyn-based Orthodox   Jewish newspaper Hamodia, Scalia attacks one of the core concepts of church-state separation – the idea that government must remain neutral between religion and non-religion.

Disruption Distraction: The Religious Right And Supreme Court Nominee Sotomayor

I don't know what kind of Supreme Court justice Sonya Sotomayor will turn out to be.

My hope is that she's much in the vein as the man she will probably replace – David H. Souter.

But although I'm uncertain about Sotomayor's views on separation of church and state, there's one thing I know for sure: She deserves a fair hearing and an opportunity to explain her views and answer questions. And she deserves the right to do this in an atmosphere marked by professionalism and congeniality.

Demonizing For Dollars: Religious Right Ready To Attack Supreme Court Nominee

Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter's decision to retire and return to his farm in New Hampshire has really got the Religious Right's knickers in knots – but also has given movement leaders an opportunity.

President Barack Obama is expected to name Souter's replacement soon, and chances are the Religious Right isn't going to like that person's record.

What to do?

Answer: Go negative.

Red Mass Goes Mild: Catholic Hierarchy Lowers Lobbying Level For High Court Justices

[caption id="attachment_1027" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Archbishop Wuerl and Cardinal Foley after the Red Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Washington, D.C., October 5, 2008. Photo taken from Flickr Creative Commons by II Primo Uomo"][/caption]

Today is the first Monday in October—the day when the U.S. Supreme Court is back in session for a new term.

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