State Religion Clauses after Trinity Lutheran: Are the States’ Constitutions Unconstitutional?


Lawrence VanDyke
Solicitor General of the State of Nevada


In June of this year, the Supreme Court held, in a 7-2 opinion, that the exclusion of churches from an otherwise neutral and secular aid program violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of free exercise of religion. The Court held that the free exercise clause of the First Amendment protects the freedom to practice religion and subjects laws that burden religious practice to strict scrutiny. Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer.

Trinity Lutheran has been cited as an important victory in the battle to protect religious liberty. Thirty-eight of our states have amendments that “prohibit direct governmental aid to educational institutions that have a religious affiliation.” These so-called “Blaine” amendments were instituted in the late 19th century, and as demonstrated by the Trinity Lutheran case, their reach and enforceability is unclear. Join us as we host Nevada Solicitor General Lawrence VanDyke to discuss the Trinity Lutheran case (in which the State of Nevada filed amicus briefs), Blaine Amendments, his efforts in Nevada’s school choice litigation (which involved a Blaine Amendment challenge), and why Blaine amendments may be problematic for reasons that were never squarely addressed in the Trinity Lutheran decision.


Mr. VanDyke has been Nevada’s Solicitor General since 2015. Prior to serving as Nevada’s Solicitor General, Mr. VanDyke was Solicitor General of the State of Montana, and also served as Assistant Solicitor General for the State of Texas. Before public service, he practiced law with Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher in the area of constitutional and appellate law. He served as a law clerk for the Honorable Janice Rogers Brown on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Mr. VanDyke holds both a B.S. and M.A. in Engineering from Montana State University—Bozeman. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.


EARN ONE HOUR OF MCLE CREDIT

When:  Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 11:30 a.m. (registration), 12:00 p.m. (lunch)

Where:  Oliver Café at Equinox Sports Club, 1980 Main Street, Irvine, Tel. (949) 
251-6363.  Bring your parking ticket to the luncheon for validation.

Cost: $30/members, $35/nonmembers, $20/students, for lunch and 1 hour of MCLE credit (the Federalist Society is a California State Bar approved provider of MCLE).


RSVP and Pay: To RSVP and pay by credit card, click the Buy Now button on the right. 
To pay by cash, credit card or check at the door, please send an RSVP to Carol Matheis, at OCFederalist@cox.net and make checks payable to "The Federalist Society."  

We welcome all interested attorneys and non-attorneys to our events. 

Reining in the Administrative State

Roman Buhler
In 1960, the Code of Federal Regulations stood at 22,877 pages.  By 2013, it contained 175,496 pages.  It can be argued that every page of federal regulation is, in some form or fashion, curtailing the promise of individual liberty bestowed upon us by our Constitution. 

Join us as we host Roman Buhler, of Buhler and Associates, and Director of the Madison Coalition, to discuss the administrative state and efforts to bring permanent end to "regulation without representation" and to help ensure that federal regulations, like federal laws, have the consent of the governed. Mr. Buhler will review of the current legislative method available, the Congressional Review Act. In addition, he will address other legislative proposals that may be taken up by the Congress—the REINS (Regulations From the Executive In Need of Scrutiny) Act, Separation of Powers Restoration Act, and the Agency Accountability Act. Finally, he will explain the proposed Regulation Freedom Amendment, and detail the process by which the Amendment could become law.

Mr. Buhler is President of Buhler and Associates, a consulting and lobbying firm located in McLean, Virginia.  He is also Director of the Madison Coalition, an organization dedicated to establishing a Regulation Freedom Amendment that permanently requires that major new federal regulations be approved by Congress.  Mr. Buhler served as Newt Gingrich’s first Committee Counsel, when Mr. Gingrich was Speaker of the House, and from 1989 to 2003 and again in 2007 as Elections Counsel to the Committee on House Administration, handling election issues.  As Counsel, his work included promoting legislation to protect election integrity, overseeing the regulatory activities of the Federal Election Commission, and investigating allegations of election fraud in contested elections for Congress.  Prior to his service in the House, Buhler worked as an attorney and political consultant in California. He holds a B.A. from Stanford University, and a J.D. from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.  Mr. Buhler also graduated from the Harvard University Program for Senior Managers in Government.

EARN ONE HOUR OF MCLE CREDIT

When:  Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 11:30 a.m. (registration), 12:00 p.m. (lunch)

Where:  Oliver Café at Equinox Sports Club, 1980 Main Street, Irvine, Tel. (949) 251-6363.  Bring your parking ticket to the luncheon for validation.

Cost: $30/members, $35/nonmembers, $20/students, for lunch and 1 hour of MCLE credit (the Federalist Society is a California State Bar approved provider of MCLE).


RSVP and Pay: To RSVP and pay by credit card, click the Buy Now button on the right. To pay by cash, credit card or check at the door, please send an RSVP to Carol Matheis, at OCFederalist@cox.net and make checks payable to "The Federalist Society."  

We welcome all interested attorneys and non-attorneys to our events. 

Religious Liberty for Business: The Hobby Lobby Decision, Local Ordinances and Double Standards

You are cordially invited to join the Federalist Society of Orange County as we host


Hiram Sasser

Recently, college students at various campuses were interviewed and asked whether a Muslim-owned small business should be compelled to provide customized creative services for a cause that violated their religious beliefs. All of the students agreed it should not. Yet, when quizzed about whether a Christian business should be compelled to do the same, their response was different. Why?  Join us as we discuss this issue, with Hiram Sasser, of the First Liberty Institute.

Hiram Sasser is an attorney representing Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of “Sweet Cakes by Melissa,” in a battle for the Oregon couple’s religious freedom. In 2013, a woman asked the Kleins to make a cake celebrating her same-sex wedding. As devout Christians, the Kleins felt that helping celebrate the wedding would violate their faith, so they declined to design and create the custom cake—only to have the State of Oregon punish them with a $135,000 penalty and issue a gag order against them. The Kleins were forced to shut down their bakery. They are appealing the ruling to the Oregon Court of Appeals. 

Mr. Sasser is Deputy Chief Counsel for First Liberty Institute, where he oversees Liberty Institute’s litigation efforts. Sasser’s practice focuses on First Amendment and other constitutional and civil rights issues. In addition to his legal duties, he develops, coordinates, and implements successful media strategies on behalf of his clients. This includes numerous appearances on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, CNN, and the BBC as well as being heard on various radio stations throughout the United States, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Prior to joining Liberty, Sasser graduated summa cum laude from Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he received recognition as the “Outstanding Graduate.” He earned his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University. His military service includes serving as Headquarters Commander, a Company Executive Officer, and Training Officer in the United States Army Reserve.

In 2016, Sasser took a leave of absence to serve a temporary assignment as the Chief of Staff for the Attorney General of Texas.

EARN ONE HOUR OF MCLE CREDIT

When:  Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 11:30 a.m. (registration), 12:00 p.m. (lunch)

WhereOliver Café at Equinox Sports Club, 1980 Main Street, Irvine, Tel. (949) 251-6363. Bring your parking ticket to the luncheon for validation.

Cost: $30/members, $35/nonmembers, $20/students, for lunch and 1 hour of MCLE credit (the Federalist Society is a California State Bar approved provider of MCLE).

RSVP and Pay: To RSVP and pay by credit card, click the Buy Now button on the right. To pay by cash, credit card or check at the door, please send an RSVP to Carol Matheis, at OCFederalist@cox.net and make checks payable to "The Federalist Society."  

We welcome all interested attorneys and non-attorneys to our events.