AUDIO SCOTUS LGBT Decision Will ‘Create a Tsunami of New Litigation’ Against Religious Groups

ROBERT KRAYCHIK 15 Jun 2020

The Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) reinterpretation of a federal prohibition against employment discrimination based on sex — which now includes sexual orientation and “gender identity” — will “create a tsunami of new litigation” against religious organizations, explained Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, offering her remarks on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour.

The Supreme Court’s legal redefinition of “sex” to include sexual orientation and “gender identity” opens the door for further left-wing lawfare against religious organizations, Severino noted.

Severino said, “The Supreme Court left a lot of really important issues open, like, how do you balance this with religious freedom? How do you balance it with freedom of speech? If you’ve got a law, for example, saying that using someone’s preferred pronoun is mandatory — or you can be fined [for non-compliance], how do we balance that with some of these other important and even constitutional questions? Those are things that, for the most part, are unfortunately going to be just decided by a whole range of lower courts. and it will be a long time before the Supreme Court even takes up the opportunity to weigh in on that.”

Severino predicted, “These questions are going to create a tsunami of new litigation and create a huge amount of uncertainty going forward.”

LISTEN:

The Supreme Court’s decision to extend prohibitions against employment discrimination to include sexual orientation and “gender identity” will place religious and traditional organizations at a legal disadvantage when they are inevitably sued by left-wing outfits.

“You’re going to see these decisions going overwhelmingly in favor of the litigants [and] the plaintiffs who are challenging any religious organization, or any school, or anyone who wants to maintain a traditional, biologically based, scientific-based understanding of sex,” Severino forecasted.

“The logic that the court embraced” sets in motion a legal momentum for lower courts to render future decisions in favor of plaintiffs suing religious and traditional organizations for their personnel decisions, Severino anticipated.

Mansour asked if religious organizations would surrender to left-wing activist groups filing lawsuits based on the Supreme Court’s decision given their insufficient resources to legally defend themselves.

Severino replied, “That’s part of the strategy of the activists because they know that many of these organizations can’t afford to pay for defense. They can’t afford to risk a negative judgment where they could face crippling fines. If you’re talking about individuals, you’ve seen what’s happened with cases like the Masterpiece Cake Shop case, where someone’s entire business and livelihood could be destroyed and where they can face even personal threats and real concern over their own safety if they are willing to carry on litigation.”

Severino added, “I think the intimidation factor of a lawsuit is huge, and when you’ve got the court almost inviting that, it’s going to present a real challenge for a lot of people. Practically speaking, for the most part, this isn’t even going to be an issue because I think there’s the vast majority of businesses don’t have any reason or desire to discriminate on either of these bases, but there are circumstances where it is either relevant to the job qualifications or where it’s going to be an issue of conscience, and those are the ones where you’re going to have people who are going to be forced to make those tough choices between violating their own conscience and possibly losing their livelihood.”

The Supreme Court’s decision amounted to a rewriting of civil rights legislation, Severino stated.

“This had to do with the court interpreting the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Severino explained. “We’re kind of familiar with this language. It says that no employers can discriminate on the basis of sex, of religion, of natural origin, and other kinds of classic caveats that you have, but what their question was, ‘It says you can’t discriminate ion the basis of sex. Does that also mean you can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity?’”

Severino continued, “It’s kind of a strange question to be asking because in so many states, now, and in many situations in federal law, we already do have laws preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation, but they never phrase it as ‘discrimination based on sex.’ It’s always explicitly written, ‘discrimination based on sexual orientation.’”

“What the Supreme Court did is, in an opinion, they basically just rewrote what that text said because there is a long-standing history where for decades, no politicians [and] no judge said that language meant sexual orientation, as well,” Severino added.

The Supreme Court’s decision usurps the role of legislators, Severino determined.

“That’s really a revisionist reading of the statute dressed up as textualism, and that’s one of the things that is so dangerous because we have laws that courts can effectively rewrite,” Severino concluded. “No legislator who passed [Title VII of the Civil Rights Act] would have thought it meant that.”

Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern or 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific.

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https://www.breitbart.com/radio/2020/06/15/carrie-severino-scotus-lgbt-decision-tsunami-litigation-religious-groups/

DOJ to Gavin Newsom: Start Reopening Churches in California

Attorney General William Barr appears before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee to make his Justice Department budget request, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

JOEL B. POLLAK 20 May 2020

The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) warned California Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday that his reopening plan discriminates against religion and must be modified to allow for religious services to reopen.

Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband pointed out that Newsom’s plan allows a variety of businesses to reopen in “Stage 2,” but does not allow churches and other houses of worship to reopen until “Stage 3,” for no apparent reason.

Citing Attorney General William Barr’s April memorandum warning state and local governments to respect First Amendment rights of religious freedom — “[T]he Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis,” Barr wrote — Dreiband argued that while California could determine the pace of its reopening, it could not infringe on religion:

Of course we recognize the duty that you have to protect the health and safety of Californians in the face of a pandemic that is unprecedented in our lifetimes.

Laws that do not treat religious activities equally with comparable nonreligious activities are subject to heightened scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. … Religious gatherings may not be singled out for unequal treatment compared to other nonreligious gatherings that have the same effect on the government’s public health interest, absent the most compelling reasons.

California has not shown why interactions in offices and studios of the entertainment industry, and in-person operations to facilitate nonessential ecommerce, are included on the [essential workforce] list as being allowed with social distancing where telework is not practical, while gatherings with social distancing for purposes of religious worship are forbidden, regardless of whether remote worship is practical or not.

Places of worship are not permitted to hold religious worship services until Stage 3. However, in Stage 2, schools, restaurants, factories, offices, shopping malls, swap meets, and others are permitted to operate with social distancing.

Whatever level of restrictions you adopt, these civil rights protections mandate equal treatment of persons and activities of a secular and religious nature.

Dreiband told Breitbart News Sunday recently that the DOJ had achieved results by writing to local governments to inform them that they were infringing on religious liberty, and they had backed down from draconian restrictions.

The Los Angeles Times notes that while several California churches have already challenged the state’s stay-at-home orders, none has yet been successful. Dreiband acknowledged these decisions, but argued in his letter that the decisions do not address discrimination in the reopening plan.

Politico noted that Gov. Newsom has tried to mollify religious communities: “I want to just express my deep admiration to the faith community and the need and desire to know when their congregants can once again start coming back to the pews, coming back together,” he said Monday.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

https://www.breitbart.com/faith/2020/05/20/doj-to-gavin-newsom-start-reopening-churches/