The President’s newest members of the Supreme Court are already protecting religious liberties, and it was apparent in a Supreme Court decision on Monday.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a horrifying Orwellian court ruling that told the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico that it could not define itself as an organization.
Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court had ruled that individual Catholic churches and schools do not exist as independent legal entities, holding them jointly liable for claims against the “Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church in Puerto Rico.”
In a unanimous decision in Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Juan, Puerto Rico v. Yali Acevedo Feliciano, et al. (2020), the Court struck down the previous ruling on technical grounds of jurisdiction that had nothing to do with the Puerto Rico court’s extensive violation of the Catholic Church’s religious freedom to define its own structure.
However, Justice Samuel Alito wrote a concurring opinion insisting that the underlying religious freedom issue is important and may need to be reconsidered.
“Our clients are pleased that the court vacated the Puerto Rico court’s ruling that jeopardized their ability to operate without government interference,” Lea Patterson, Counsel to First Liberty Institute, which represented two Catholic schools in the case, said in a statement. “If a court can dictate a church’s operating structure, it’s only a matter of time until government tells churches what they can believe. The Supreme Court’s decision is an important step towards protecting religious liberty in Puerto Rico.”
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