Monday, March 20, 2023

Court Upholds Mississippi Religious Freedom — But There’s Stinging Dissent

A federal appeals court announced Friday it wouldn’t reconsider a ruling upholding a sweeping anti-LGBT “religious freedom” law in Mississippi — although one judge has penned a stinging dissent over the refusal.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider the ruling issued in June by a three-judge panel on the court upholding the law. The panel found the plaintiffs in the consolidated cases — one filed by Campaign for Southern Equality, the other by the Joshua Generation Metropolitan Community Church and 13 Mississippi ministers — lack standing to challenge on the basis it violated the Establishment Clause under the First Amendment.

The recorded vote against a rehearing of the decision was 12-2. Among those who dissented was U.S. Circuit Judge James Dennis, a Clinton appointee who said “the court has abdicated its mandate to decide the substantive claims raised by the plaintiffs.”

“Respectfully, the panel opinion is wrong; the plaintiffs have standing to challenge HB 1523 under Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals precedents,” Dennis writes. “The panel opinion misconstrues and misapplies the Establishment Clause precedent, and…its analysis creates a conflict between our circuit and our sister circuits on the issue of Establishment Clause standing.”

Read more at The Washington Blade.

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