Church Scores Big Victory at Supreme Court

Justices say Missouri was wrong to deny state funds for playground
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 26, 2017 9:37 AM CDT
Updated Jun 26, 2017 11:00 AM CDT
Supreme Court Will Take Case on Gay-Wedding Cake
Monday is the Supreme Court's last session of its current term.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Supreme Court's big headline on Monday involved partially instating President Trump's travel ban, but it was far from the only consequential development on the last day of the court's term. In a big church-state ruling, the court sided with the church. Justices ruled 7-2 that the state of Missouri was wrong when it rejected a request from Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia for funds to build a playground, reports NBC News. The church had sought money from a state fund set aside for non-profits. The ruling could jeopardize laws in other states designed to keep a clear separation between church and state, a point emphasized by Sonia Sotomayor in her dissent. Other developments:

  • Gay rights: The court is putting a high-profile case about gay rights on the docket for its next term. The justices will decide whether a baker in Denver who objects to same-sex marriage was OK to refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, reports the Washington Post. The decision would have a bearing on similar lawsuits around the country that pit merchants' free-speech and religious rights against anti-discrimination laws.
  • Gun rights: The court rejected another call to decide whether Americans have a constitutional right to carry guns with them outside their homes, reports the AP. 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.

  • Sheriff Joe: The court 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 in Maricopa County, Ariz.
  • Inmate loses: The court ruled against a Texas death row inmate who said his lawyers failed to challenge a faulty jury instruction. Erick Davila was convicted in 2009 of the shooting deaths of a 5-year-old girl and her grandmother at a children's birthday party, and prosecutors said Davila was trying to shoot someone else as part of a gang dispute. Davila claimed the jury should have been instructed it could find him guilty of both murders only if he meant to kill two people. He said he only meant to kill one.
(More US Supreme Court stories.)

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