Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I am happy to have joined an amicus brief together with several other constitutional law professors (including fellow MOJ writers Rick, Robby, and Michael P.) -- but written by Doug Laycock and some excellent lawyers in Austin, Texas -- in Stormans v. Salecky, an interesting case currently being litigated in the Western District of Washington and the Ninth Circuit. The case concerns the free exercise rights of several pharmacists at small pharmacies who have religious conscience objections to dispensing Plan B emergency contraception, and who are being compelled to do so by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy's regulations requiring all pharmacies to dispense certain drugs, without exception. I am particularly keen on the description in the brief of Smith and Lukumi-Babalu as representing a kind of range of general applicability -- the idea being that many cases will fall somewhere between those two points. That's nifty, because one often sees Lukumi instead described as an "exception" to the Smith "rule," which has different connotations and implications. You can read more about the case in Judge Leighton's most recent opinion.