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Category: Constitutional Structure

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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Freedom Center Files Briefs In Support of Missourians’ Right of Self-Defense

Freedom Center Files Briefs In Support of Missourians’ Right of Self-Defense

A little more than one year ago more than sixty percent of Missouri voters approved an amendment to Article I, section 23 of the state constitution–but it remains to be seen if this state’s courts will honor the will of the people. The amendment the people adopted dramatically increased constitutional protections for citizens’ right to keep and bear arms, stating that (1) for the purposes of the Missouri Constitution the right to keep and bear arms includes the possession of…

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A Quick Primer on “Martial Law”

A Quick Primer on “Martial Law”

Whenever there is civil unrest or a natural disaster in some part of the United States, people on the internet invariably start to rumble that someone or another might declare “martial law.”  The thing is, the people expressing concerns about martial law rarely seem to understand the meaning of the term.  In order to help shed some light on the topic, we wanted to offer this brief primer on martial law – and an explanation as to why the Missouri…

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The Supreme Court’s Health Care Decision and the State of the Constitution

The Supreme Court’s Health Care Decision and the State of the Constitution

Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court pulled together four separate challenges to the Affordable Care Act. The challengers were targeting two specific elements of the federal law: (1) its requirement that almost every American must obtain government-approved health insurance coverage, and (2) its requirement that states must either expand the scope of their Medicaid programs or lose all Medicaid funding from the federal government. In order to resolve these questions, the Court first had to determine if it…

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Freedom Center Testifies on Two Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Freedom Center Testifies on Two Proposed Constitutional Amendments

The Freedom Center’s Director of Litigation, Dave Roland, spent his Valentine’s Day offering insight on two important constitutional amendments that the General Assembly is considering. The first proposal would eliminate one of Missouri’s Blaine Amendments which, as shown in this 8-page written testimony given to the legislators, sometimes require the government to deny religious citizens and organizations the ability to participate in certain programs simply on the basis that they are religious. The second proposal seeks to establish that citizens…

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Class in Rolla This Weekend: Birth of the U.S. Constitution

Class in Rolla This Weekend: Birth of the U.S. Constitution

This Saturday in Rolla, Missouri, the Freedom Center’s director of litigation, Dave Roland, will be offering a class on the Birth of the U.S. Constitution.  Attendees will learn about the origins of constitutionalism under English law, the Articles of Confederation and the crisis of government following the American Revolution, and the intense national debate over whether the Constitution should be ratified.  They will also get a step-by-step look at what our Constitution actually says about how our governmental system is…

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The Principal Office of Government

The Principal Office of Government

On January 4, 2012, Dave Roland gave this speech (text version may be found below) at the state capitol in Jefferson City, explaining the historical context for Article I, Section 2, of the Missouri Constitution. That provision reads: “All constitutional government is intended to promote the general welfare of the people; all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry; all persons are created equal and…

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