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By Robert A. Vella

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 conservative majority made big headlines today with a string of decisions on the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state, President Trump’s travel ban, restrictions on gun rights, and embattled former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Let’s get to it.

From:  U.S. top court backs church in key religious rights case

WASHINGTON, June 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with a church that objected to being denied public money in Missouri, potentially lessening America’s separation of church and state by allowing governments more leeway to fund religious entities directly.

The justices, in a 7-2 ruling, found that Missouri unlawfully prevented Trinity Lutheran Church access to a state grant program that helps nonprofit groups buy rubber playground surfaces made from recycled tires.

[…]

Three-quarters of the U.S. states have provisions similar to Missouri’s barring funding for religious entities.

From:  U.S. top court to hear baker’s religious objection to making cake for gay couple

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide a major case on whether business owners can refuse to service gay couples if they oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds involving a Christian baker in Colorado who declined to make a wedding cake for two men.

From:  Supreme Court reinstates Trump’s travel ban in part

The original travel ban, which went into effect immediately, barred all travelers from seven countries from entering the U.S. even if they had green cards, valid visas or refugee status. It led to at least 746 people temporarily detained at U.S. airports, some being deported back to their home countries, and untold numbers of others prevented from boarding their flights at airports overseas.

The revised travel ban, with the court’s limitations, can go into effect this week, based on a memorandum recently signed by the president. It allows travelers with green cards and visas to continue entering the U.S., but still forbids all refugees. That means some refugees may get stuck, but nowhere near the number of people ensnared by the first ban.

From:  Supreme Court rejects gun rights appeal

The justices on Monday left in place an appeals court ruling that upheld the San Diego sheriff’s strict limits on issuing permits for concealed weapons.

[…]

The high court also turned away a second case involving guns and the federal law that bars people convicted of crimes from owning guns.

The Trump administration had urged the court to review an appellate ruling that restored the rights of two men who had been convicted of non-violent crimes to own guns.

The federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled for the two men.

From:  Supreme Court rejects ex-Sheriff Arpaio bid for jury trial

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s request to let a jury instead of a judge decide whether he is guilty of a criminal charge for disobeying a court order to stop his immigration patrols.

The rejection from the nation’s highest court came hours before the retired lawman’s trial is set to begin on Monday.

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6 thoughts on “Today’s Supreme Court News: Decisions on Church and State, Travel Ban, Gun Rights, and Sheriff Arpaio

  1. Ughhh. 😦 Could comment on these 5 cases, but will just briefly comment on one: U.S. top court to hear baker’s religious objection to making cake for gay couple. The article reads:

    The dispute is one of several similar cases around the United States pressed by Christian conservatives who object to gay marriage and argue they should not be forced to violate their religious beliefs by providing certain services to same-sex couples.

    So let’s carry this violating MY OWN religious beliefs line of reasoning a little further…

    1. My religious beliefs dictate that as a medical doctor I do NOT have to resusitate or save a dying life if they are not Christian, specifically Baptist.

    2. My religious beliefs dictate that if the jet-liner I’m traveling on has a majority of non-Christians onboard, I can hijack the plane and fly it into a multi-story high-rise building.

    3. My religious beliefs dictate that if the “escort” I’ve hired does not service me completely and fully — all my demands — for $100, I can legally shoot her dead for theft and fraud primarily because she is an “escort” or sub-human.

    Should I come up with more?

    Robert, my #3 example actually has happened in Texas. The shooter/killer, Ezekiel Gilbert, was acquitted. 😦

    • Why am I not surprised? The answer can be found in thoughtful dissertations posted on blogs across the web including yours and mine. As modern civilization spirals downward, dangerous extreme ideologies come to the fore. Civility and rational behavior are lost. Ethics and good judgement are impaired. Socialized morality is destroyed. People, regardless of their status, begin acting without restraint. It’s happened before. It’s happening again.

      Your general point on religion couldn’t be clearer. That’s why America’s founding fathers codified the Separation of Church and State into the U.S. Constitution. But, the insanity plaguing the nation today will undermine it eventually.

      • Quite true Robert — it is indeed happening again. Having done 3.5 years of seminary at Reformed Theological Seminary, my under-grad and some post-grad in philosophy, bible, and history… naturally we HAD to learn the rise, the Golden-centuries, and the fall of the Roman Empire. My love of history (particularly Antiquity in the Levant), has passionately taken me through vast macrocosms and microcosms of Roman daily life, from the aristocracies, oligarchies, plutarchies, down to the legionnaires, peasants and slaves — the who’s, hows, and whys. The similarities between current day America and the fall/collaspe of the Roman (wealthy) ruling-class and their society are utterly uncanny, eye-opening, and disturbing.

        At this pace and direction, everything you’ve summarized WILL happen.

  2. I also say Ugh! 😦

    But somehow I knew it was coming when the new judge stepped in.

    All I can say at this point is the Democrats sure as hell better get their act together and replace some of the elephant tribe or we’re going to be seeing a lot more of these type of rulings … along with some other not-very-pleasant happenings (like “tRump Care”).

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