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Category: Constitutional Structure

Federal Judge: City may limit Good Samaritans’ ability to feed the homeless

Federal Judge: City may limit Good Samaritans’ ability to feed the homeless

A federal judge in St. Louis has ruled that St. Louis may punish Good Samaritans for providing meals to the homeless unless those Good Samaritans first comply with the same costly and burdensome regulations that govern restaurants and grocery stores. The plaintiffs, Pastor Ray Redlich and his colleague, Chris Ohnimus, regularly seek out hungry neighbors on the streets of St. Louis, obeying their Christian faith’s command to provide food to those in need. As Ray and Chris told the court,…

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Happy Birthday, Missouri Constitution!

Happy Birthday, Missouri Constitution!

On July 19, 1820, Missouri’s first Constitutional Convention signed and adopted the state’s first constitution. With the foundational document of statehood thus in place, Missouri elected its first state government and federal Congressional representatives in the fall of 1820, although Congress refused formally to recognize Missouri’s admission to the Union until August 10, 1821. In the intervening two centuries Missourians have drafted several other constitutions, actually adopting new ones in 1865, 1875, and 1945. Several years ago the Freedom Center’s…

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St. Louis Lawsuit Against Second Amendment Preservation Act is Totally Baseless

St. Louis Lawsuit Against Second Amendment Preservation Act is Totally Baseless

The Missouri state legislature recently passed (and Governor Parson quickly signed) HB 85, the Second Amendment Preservation Act, a bill designed to ensure that state and local law enforcement in Missouri are focused on enforcing gun laws passed by our own lawmakers in Jefferson City, not the folks in Washington, DC. Opponents of this bill have loudly and repeatedly claimed that SAPA is unconstitutional… but most have declined to offer any legal analysis that would actually support these claims. At…

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NEW CASE: Freedom Center Challenges St. Louis City’s Requirement That Political Candidates Must Own Private Property

NEW CASE: Freedom Center Challenges St. Louis City’s Requirement That Political Candidates Must Own Private Property

As seems to happen every few years, candidates for political office are once again trying to knock their opponents off the ballot – this time for the Democratic Primary for nomination to serve on the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen. In one particular case, incumbent Third Ward Alderman Brandon Bosley is arguing that his opponent, Herdosia Bentum, should be removed from the ballot either because she has not for the past two years been an “assessed taxpayer of the city” or…

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NEW CASE: Government Watchdog Sues City for Banning Her From City Hall

NEW CASE: Government Watchdog Sues City for Banning Her From City Hall

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                      CONTACT:               Dave Roland November 10, 2020                                                                                          (314) 604-6621 Government Watchdog Sues City for Banning Her From City Hall Mexico, Missouri—Rebecca Varney worked so hard to keep the local government in Edgar Springs, Missouri, transparent and accountable to the community that the government banned her from City Hall. In a new lawsuit filed by the Freedom Center of Missouri, Varney has decided to fight “City Hall” for the right to…

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Missouri Courts Must Uphold Citizens’ Right to Possess Firearms for Defensive Purposes

Missouri Courts Must Uphold Citizens’ Right to Possess Firearms for Defensive Purposes

In 2014, Missouri voters passed Amendment 5, which updated Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution, which protects “the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property[.]” The amendment was explicitly designed to give this right the most extensive protections possible, requiring courts to subject to “strict scrutiny” any restriction on citizens’ rights of self-defense, and obligating the…

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules That First Amendment Prohibits State Constitutions From Requiring Religious Discrimination

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That First Amendment Prohibits State Constitutions From Requiring Religious Discrimination

In a landmark 7-2 decision, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment forbids states to categorically exclude persons or organizations from government benefits simply because the persons or organizations happen to be religious.  The case involved Article I, Section 7 of the Missouri Constitution, which the state had interpreted to preclude a church in Columbia, Missouri, from being considered for a state-funded grant that would offset…

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Dave Discusses Most Important Religious Liberty Case in a Generation

Dave Discusses Most Important Religious Liberty Case in a Generation

In just a few weeks the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, the most important religious liberty case it has considered in nearly three decades – and a case that originated right here in Missouri.  The question before the Court is: “Does the First Amendment allow governments to discriminate against religious organizations for no reason other than that they are religious?” The way the Supreme Court answers this question will have…

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To Fix a Broken Standard

To Fix a Broken Standard

  Missouri is facing an unusual problem. On the one hand, the state supreme court has held that laws affecting fundamental rights must be reviewed under the “strict scrutiny” standard.  Ordinarily this would be excellent news, because strict scrutiny is supposed to represent the very highest level of judicial protection for constitutional rights. This standard requires the court applying it to (1) presume that a law restricting a constitutional right is unconstitutional, (2) requires the government to present a compelling…

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PRESS RELEASE: Missouri Supreme Court Defies Voters, Effectively Nullifies Amendment 5

PRESS RELEASE: Missouri Supreme Court Defies Voters, Effectively Nullifies Amendment 5

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:    February 9, 2016 CONTACT:  Dave Roland Missouri Supreme Court Defies Voters, Rules Amendment 5 “Worked No Substantial Change” in Missouri Constitution  Mexico, Missouri—By a 5-2 margin, a majority of the Missouri Supreme Court’s judges have effectively nullified a state constitutional amendment approved by more than sixty percent of voters in 2014.  Amendment 5, as the measure was known, made major textual changes to Article I, section 23 of the Missouri Constitution and was designed to establish the…

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