Cert. Denials of Interest

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

As is typical of the first day of the Supreme Court’s new term, today the court issued a nearly 80-page list of cases in which it has denied certiorari. (Order list.)  Among the cases that the Court has refused to review are:

First Korean Church of New York, Inc. v. Cheltenham Township Zoning Hearing Board (Docket No. 12-1399).  In the case a Pennsylvania federal district court granted summary judgment to defendants in a lawsuit by First Korean Church that had been prevented by township zoning ordinances from using a 33.8 acre property for a church and seminary. (See prior posting.)The Third Circuit affirmed in a 3-paragraph opinion.

Dixon v. University of Toledo (Docket No. 12-1402). In the case the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the University of Toledo (OH) did not violate the 1st Amendment free speech rights of its Associate Vice President for Human Resources when it terminated her because of an op-ed column she wrote expressing her views about homosexuality. (See prior posting.)

A.M.v. Taconic Hills Central School (Docket No. 12-1479). In the case the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a free speech claim by a middle school student, the co-president of student council, who was not permitted to include a religious blessing at the end of her remarks at the school’s Moving-Up Ceremony. (See prior posting.)

Big Sky Colony, Inc. v. Montana Department of Labor and Industry, (Docket No. 12-1191).  In the case, the Montana Supreme Court upheld amendments to the state’s workers compensation law that bring Hutterite Colonies within the definition of those covered when their members perform agricultural, manufacturing or construction services for in-kind services rather than wages. (See prior posting.) [Thanks to Luke Goodrich for the lead.]

Church of Scietology v. DeCrescenzo, (Docket No. 12-1495).  As described in the cert. petititon (2013 WL 3225967) the trial court, following California precedent, limited the clergy-penitent privilege to communications made to a single minister, and thus refused to find the privilege applicable to communications made in the course of the Scientology practice of “auditing”. The state appellate and supreme courts summarily denied review.