Judge Roy Moore and Foundation for Moral Law Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Close Loophole That Allows Frivolous Lawsuits Against Religious Liberty
Contact: Rich Hobson, Foundation for Moral Law, 334-262-1245
MONTGOMERY, Ala., Jan. 5 /Christian Newswire/ -- Former Chief Justice Roy Moore and attorneys with the Foundation for Moral Law filed an amicus curiae ("friend-of-the-court") brief today in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation case arguing that the federal courts should stop giving liberal groups like Freedom From Religion Foundation special permission to sue the government on behalf of "taxpayers"—in this case, to stop President Bush’s promotion of faith-based initiatives. The brief also takes a bold position that Justice Clarence Thomas has supported, arguing that, unlike the Free Exercise or the Free Speech Clauses, the Establishment Clause itself does not protect an individual right and cannot be the basis for an individual lawsuit. (Read the brief here.)
Judge Moore said, "We have an outstanding opportunity in this case to stop the agenda of liberal organizations like the ACLU and Freedom From Religion Foundation, which wrongfully continue to use the courts to take away our religious liberty. The Supreme Court should close the loophole in the law that has unfairly allowed such organizations to bring such frivolous lawsuits."
The brief filed today goes to the heart of the problem: that the federal courts are not interpreting the Constitution according to the original meaning of the text. The Constitution requires the federal courts to hear only "cases" and "controversies," not philosophical disputes that some angry taxpayers may have with government spending policy. In interpreting the Constitution, courts themselves are still bound by the limits of the Constitution. The Supreme Court should close the special loophole it created for taxpayer plaintiffs in the 1968 Flast v. Cohen case and that is now being exploited in cases like Hein.
Moreover, the brief argues that, unlike the Free Exercise or the Free Speech Clauses, the Establishment Clause itself does not protect an individual right and cannot be the basis for an individual lawsuit—a uniquely principled position that Justice Clarence Thomas has supported. By forbidding "Congress" from making a law "respecting an establishment of religion," the Establishment Clause was designed as a federalism provision to keep the federal government from setting up a national church and from interfering with religion in the states. Thus, trying to vindicate in the courts a supposed personal right in the clause is improper and unconstitutional, making the individual litigants in the Hein case—or any case—devoid of standing to sue.
Finally, the brief notes that the Establishment Clause can be adequately enforced by the Executive and Legislative branches and in lawsuits brought by states, without the courts making up special standing exceptions for taxpayer plaintiffs. It is time for the Court to recognize the original and limited role of the Establishment Clause and to do away with special exceptions for liberal and secular organizations that continue to undermine the religious liberty America holds dear.
The Foundation for Moral Law, a national non-profit legal organization, is located in Montgomery, Alabama, and is dedicated to restoring the knowledge of God in law and government through two methods: litigation relating to moral issues and religious liberty cases; and education consisting of forums for the public and pastors' seminars.
For more information about the Foundation for Moral Law and a link to the brief, please visit www.morallaw.org.