It’s not without some last minute drama that Trinity Lutheran will finally get its day in court. Justice Gorsuch will begin hearing cases this week after a historic path through the confirmation process. Major media outlets are portraying this case as an indicator of how the court’s newest justice will handle religious liberty issues.
Then, the Governor of Missouri threw a curve ball in the bottom of the ninth that no one expected. He directed government agencies to allow religious organizations to participate in publicly available grant programs like the one at issue in the Trinity Lutheran case. ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman had this to say about the announcement:
“The safety of all children matters, whether they attend a religious school or a nonreligious school. The state of Missouri denied the Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center’s access to a public program that would have made their playground safer—and did so on the basis of religious status, a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent. Just as today’s announcement from the governor states, his new directive doesn’t resolve the discriminatory actions that were taken against Trinity Lutheran’s preschool and the attempt to deny Trinity Lutheran its constitutionally protected freedom to participate equally in society.”
And it has been a long, winding road to reach this point in the case. The Court agreed to hear the case all the way back in January 2016. But the nation suffered the loss of Justice Scalia, and then the remaining eight justices took more than a year to decide when to hear oral arguments in the case.
We will be live from the U.S. Supreme Court beginning Tuesday, April 18 and continuing throughout the day on Wednesday. You can catch all the action, including interviews with attorneys arguing the case before the court, on the ADF Facebook page.