Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A few notes on Trinity Lutheran v Missouri DNR.

If you get off I-70 at the stadium drive exit on the west side of Columbia, go north past the mall, pas the Chick-Fil-A, and park on Rollins drive, you are at the Trinity Lutheran church and preschool.
google maps. I pretty much never go to that side of town; it's the suburbs. I used to be on Columbia's energy and environment commission, and using recycled tires as playground material is generally a good idea. Having government fund church infastructure isn't.


The opinion came down yesterday and since I think it was wrong, I might as well read it. Will be updating this post with notes as I go. It was 7-2, with a mix of who joined what.

The controversial footnote 3 is:
3This case involves express discrimination based on religious identity with respect to playground resurfacing. We do not address religious uses of funding or other forms of discrimination.

The Chief Justice did not join footnote 3, nor did Thomas or Gorsuch, who boith wrote seperately. together. Thier concurrences are pretty much to say that they do not agree with footnote 3; that is, they do not see the decision as a narrow one. The other shoe dropped today with the court sending the Colorado vouchers case back to the lower courts. I forget if the Independce Institute was involved in that case in some capacity.

Next up I'll need ot read the dissents by Sotomayor and Ginzberg. Perhaps that will change my mind about the case.

She starts off well:

To hear the Court tell it, this is a simple case about recycling tires to resurface a playground. The stakes are higher. This case is about nothing less than the relationship between religious institutions and the civil government—that is, between church and state. The Court today profoundly changes that relationship by holding, for the first time, that the Constitution requires the government to provide public funds directly to a church. Its decision slights both our precedents and our history...

She goes on to cite Carl Esbeck, who was my con law professor and was several times nominated but never chosen for a seat on the Missouri Supreme Court under the Missouri plan.

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