Does a church have the right to participate in government programs? Can someone refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding? Gary talks about our newest Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s involvement in these current issues.
Maureen: Hello there and welcome to legal break I’m Maureen Akers, and with us today is Gary Bruce. Thank you so much for joining us, Gary.
Gary: Good to be here again, thank you.
Maureen: Great to have you! Today’s a big day, we have a new justice on the Supreme Court and there’s a very important decision happening today. Tell us what about that how it might affect us.
Gary: Today’s the bellwether. He started this week hearing lawyer argument, apparently he’s very engaged for the lawyers. Asking questions and wanting to hear their responses, maybe being a little snarky at times from what I read. But today’s a big deal it’s the Trinity Lutheran versus comer case out of Missouri, and this is going to be kind of what all the arguments about. Trinity Lutheran wanted to participate in a state provided program that put a rubberized covering on playgrounds. Trinity Lutheran ran a religious school, the state of Missouri said no this is for non-religious organizations and there has to be a separation of church and state. Then at what point do we not start to fund things for churches?
So it’s actually it’s been upheld by the Supreme Court, and now the Supreme Court is going to hear this. Does a church have a right to participate in government programs? Versus should the government stay out of church business? Then the slip of the slippery slope is where do you stop? In the meantime, Missouri’s actually said: “We’re not going to exempt churches they can have this stuff too.” So that’s impacted things but I think what we’re going to learn if all the fuss was worth it, what’s going to happen, and where is Neil Gorsuch going to impact it?
Maureen: Right, very good, so there are other cases coming up fairly soon to that can be impactful, right?
Gary: There really are, there’s a one involving the cake. You know we’ve heard about that all the last year about “can I refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding?” And the issue really comes down to this; are gay and lesbians a protected class, is sexual preference a protected class like race, age those kinds of things that we have agreed as a nation that we will protect? That’s going to be an issue, that’s going to be argued. This summer ought to be an interesting because we will see decisions coming out of the new court.
Maureen: Real quickly, what else can we expect out of our new justice?
Gary: You know I think he’s going to be somewhat of a lightning rod. He wants to be an originalist, you know he wants to step into the shoes of Scalia. And Scalia had a somewhat contorted view of the Constitution where he felt like he could he could somehow channel the founding fathers and their meanings to these words. Well we’ll see if Neil Gorsuch can do that too.
Maureen: Very good, fascinating days ahead! Thank you so very much for joining us today on Legal Break and I look forward to seeing you on the very next one.