Supreme Court Opens Term by Rejecting Appeals in Two Religion Cases

October 2, 2007

Author: David G. Savage

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday refused to expand the rights of church groups, turning down appeals in a pair of cases.

In the first, the justices rejected a free speech claim from an evangelical minister from Northern California who wanted to hold worship services in the meeting room of a public library.

In the second, the court rejected a freedom of religion claim from Catholic Charities in New York, which objected to a state law that requires them to pay for contraceptives for their employees as part of their prescription drug coverage.

The justices turned down the two appeals as part of a long list of cases dismissed on opening day of the court's term.

In the past, the high court has said public officials may not discriminate against "religious speech" in such ways as excluding a church group from meeting in the evening at a high school auditorium that is open to other community organizations.