Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SSM, religious exemptions, and tax-exempt status

Law-and-religion folks are familiar with the argument that the result and reasoning in the Bob Jones case should be extended and applied more broadly to cover other religious institutions that engage in what those who make the argument regard as invidious discrimination.  It seems clear to me that, in the coming years, a variety of means -- including conditions on accreditation, licensing, grants, contracts, funding, public-forum access, and tax-exempt status -- are going to be used to bring the practices of religious institutions into what Nancy Rosenblum and others call "congruence" with the requirements of certain version of political liberalism.

With all that in mind, there was an interesting exchange in yesterday's oral arguments between Justice Alito and the Solicitor General:

Justice Alito: Well, in the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax­exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating.  So would the same apply to a 10 university or a college if it opposed same­-sex marriage?

General Verrilli:  You know, ­­I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito.  It is­­ it is going to be an issue.

Given the way most (not all) of the arguments for same-sex marriage have proceeded, it seems that Verrilli is exactly right.


Garnett, Rick | Permalink