Supreme Court Win Non-Discrimination Laws Students HHS Regulations Right to Attend Church Churches Violate Zoning by Meeting in Theater Defending Limits on Nude Dance Club Win for Church's Homeless Ministry

Case Page: Christian Healthcare Ministry Goes To Court To Preserve Its Religious Mission

Fighting to preserve the ministerial exception to employment anti-discrimination laws. Case Page:Christian Healthcare Centers v. Nessel, et al. – Ministerial Exception Summary Christian Healthcare Centers is a religious, nonprofit healthcare and wellness ministry in Michigan that serves all people. Christian Healthcare was founded to provide a distinctly Christian alternative to traditional primary care by striving […]

Case Page: Right to Hire Based on Shared Religious Beliefs

Washington Supreme Court removes rights from 80-year-old Gospel mission and other faith-based organizations to hire coreligionists. Case Page:Union Gospel Mission of Yakima Washington v. Ferguson, et al. – Coreligionist Doctrine Summary Union Gospel Mission of Yakima Washington (“the Mission”) is a nonprofit religious organization that was founded as a Christian ministry in 1936. Since its […]

Case Page: Catholic School Goes To Court To Protect Its Religious Identity and Rights

Fighting to preserve the ministerial exception for faith-based hiring. Case Page:Sacred Heart Academy v. Nessel, et al. – Ministerial Exception Summary Sacred Heart Academy, a religious school in Michigan, was founded as a ministry to support parents who desire to provide a Christ-centered education for their children. Sacred Heart promotes a culture that is intentional […]

Victory for Joy El Ministries Ends Government Interference With Gospel-Centered Program to Public School Students

Independence Law Center praises today’s ruling, freeing religious ministries in Pennsylvania to carry out their mission. (HARRISBURG, PA – December 18, 2023) Today, in a 4-3 decision in CBM Ministries v. DOT, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania granted a victory to Joy El Ministries in a case involving overreaching government mandates that would have hindered […]

Case Page: Release Time for Religious Instruction

Case Page: CBM Ministries v. DOT et al. Status Victory – On December 18, 2023, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled in favor of Joy El Ministries / CBM Ministries, and held that the State Police must stop applying irrelevant, inapplicable laws to the vehicles of Joy El Ministries in the case of CBM Ministries v. […]

Independence Law Center Goes to Court to Defend Christian Ministry to Public School Students

(HARRISBURG, PA – September 13, 2023) Today, the Independence Law Center was in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania defending Joy El Ministries in the case, CBM Ministries v. DOT et al, involving misplaced government mandates that are hindering this ministry’s ability to operate a popular “released time” program.  The following may be attributed to Randall Wenger, Chief Counsel […]

Case Page: 303 Creative v. Elenis: Religious Liberty and Free Speech At the Supreme Court

Case Page Summary 303 Creative v. Elenis is the case of a Colorado website designer who is defending her right to use her artistic talents in a way that is consistent with her religious beliefs.  After working for various businesses and organizations in marketing and graphic design, Lorie started her own business, 303 Creative, in […]

US Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Free Speech in 303 Creative Case

Independence Law Center filed Amicus Brief in Defense of Lorie Smith and First Amendment Rights (HARRISBURG, PA – June 30, 2023) Today, in a 6-3 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of First Amendment freedoms of Lorie Smith in 303 Creative v. Elenis, rightly declaring that states cannot force a designer like Lorie […]

Supreme Court Delivers Unanimous Landmark Victory for Postal Carrier Gerald Groff

Decision means fewer religious employees will have to choose between their faith and their job. Washington, DC—Today, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of the United States granted a victory to former postal carrier Gerald Groff against the United States Postal Service, after Groff lost his job for observing the Sunday Sabbath. The decision strengthens […]

Statements from Groff Attorneys on Today’s U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument in Groff v. DeJoy

Washington, DC—The Supreme Court of the United States today heard oral argument in Groff v. DeJoy.  Groff is represented by the Independence Law Center, First Liberty Institute, Baker Botts LLP, the Church State Council. Randall Wenger, Chief Counsel of the Independence Law Center: We should never ask Americans to sacrifice their faith to keep a job.  Everyone benefits by treating […]

Faithful Carrier Asks SCOTUS to Honor the Lord’s Day

Attorneys for former Lancaster County postal worker ask high court to restore religious liberty in the workplace WASHINGTON, DC—Independence Law Center, First Liberty Institute, Baker Botts, LLP, and Church State Council filed their opening brief at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of former mail carrier Gerald Groff today.  The brief asks the Justices to […]

Supreme Court to Hear Case of Former PA Postal Carrier Who Lost Job After USPS Refused Religious Accommodation 

Attorneys asking Justices to enforce federal law that protects the right of American workers to honor Sabbath in accordance with faith. (WASHINGTON, DC – January 13, 2023) Today, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to review a Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision finding that the United States Postal Service (“USPS”) is not required to provide […]

Commission approves PA regulations that jeopardize speech and bodily privacy rights

By defining sex to mean sexual orientation and gender identity, new regulations invite unintended consequences (HARRISBURG, PA – December 8, 2022) By a 3-2 vote, the unelected Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) voted today in favor of regulations that define sex in the PA Human Relations Act to mean sexual orientation and gender identity. Similar […]

Comments on Today’s Oral Arguments to Abortion Industry Demand that Court Order Taxpayer-Funded Abortions

Retired Judge Cheryl Allen – who observed today’s oral arguments in-person in Pittsburgh – and attorney Janice Martino-Gottshall – who listened to the arguments in Harrisburg – are available for interviews. (PITTSBURGH, PA – October 26, 2022) Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Allegheny Reproductive Health Center v. PA Department of Human […]

Former Postal Carrier Who Lost Job After USPS Refused Religious Accommodation Appeals to U.S. Supreme Court 

Attorneys ask Justices to enforce federal law that protects the right of American workers to honor Sabbath in accordance with faith. (Washington, D.C., August 23, 2022) Today, the Independence Law Center, First Liberty Institute, Baker Botts LLP, and the Church State Council filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf […]

Kennedy v. Bremerton School District

Case Page Summary Coach Joseph Kennedy was fired from his job as a high school football coach in the Bremerton School District after he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet personal prayer.  The school allowed other on-duty employees to engage in personal secular conduct at the time but would not allow Coach […]

Black Women Are Targeted By Abortion Industry, Argues Brief Filed by the Independence Law Center in Key Abortion Case

Today, the Independence Law Center submitted a legal brief in a case now before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court called Allegheny Reproductive Health Center v. PA Department of Human Services, which is Pennsylvania’s biggest court case on abortion in decades. This brief was written on behalf of a host of nationally recognized organizations and leaders in […]

Vlaming v. West Point School Board

Case Page Summary Peter Vlaming, a high school French teacher in Virginia, was terminated from his job at West Point High School because he could not comply with the school board’s ultimatum that he use masculine pronouns to refer to a female student who identified as male. Mr. Vlaming extended every reasonable accommodation to his […]

Meriwether v. The Trustees of Shawnee State University

Case Page Summary Dr. Nicolas Meriwether, a philosophy professor, was punished by Shawnee State University because he declined a male student’s demand to be referred to as a woman, with feminine titles and feminine pronouns.  Dr. Meriwether offered to use the student’s first or last name, but Shawnee State University and the student demanded the […]

Calvary Chapel of Stroudsburg v. Monroe County

Case Page Summary The Independence Law Center filed this case because county officials were forcing a church to pay taxes on their entire property and building as if they were a for-profit corporation – something no church should have to do. The result: a big win, which means that rather than paying unjust taxes in […]

Case Insight: Bostock/Altitude Express/Harris Funeral Homes

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a troubling ruling involving three cases – Bostock v. Clayton County, Altitude Express v. Zarda, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These cases focused on anti-discrimination laws based on sex. There is much to criticize in the high court’s 6-3 decision, which, in effect, expands federal law to […]

Sharonell Fulton, et al. v. City of Philadelphia

Case Page Summary On March 15, 2018, Philadelphia stopped placing foster children with families working with Catholic Social Services (CSS), which was just one among 30 foster agencies in the City. The City terminated the contract with CSS and made it illegal for CSS to continue providing any foster care services unless it abandoned its […]

Baker v. Edwards

Case Page Summary In 2018, the South Carolina Department of Health & Human Services determined that the state’s abortion providers were unqualified to receive state Medicaid funding. Planned Parenthood and Julie Edwards, a state resident demanding to use Medicaid services at Planned Parenthood, sued arguing that states should not be permitted to disqualify abortion providers.  […]

Bruni v. City of Pittsburgh

Case Page Summary Pittsburgh enacted a law that bans speech and advocacy—even prayer—in painted zones outside medical facility entrances. The city then chose to paint such zones outside only two facilities in the entire metropolitan area, Pittsburgh’s two abortion clinics, and enforced the ban against pro-life speech only. When the city leaders enacted the ordinance, […]

Christian Mail Carrier Discharged for Not Delivering Packages on Sunday Asks Federal Court for Judgment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFebruary 17, 2020For interview requests or questions, contact: Dan Bartkowiak 717-657-4990, (LANCASTER, PA – February 17, 2020) On Friday, February 14, a United States Postal Service (USPS) mailman filed a Motion for Summary Judgement before a federal district judge asking the court to find that the USPS violated his rights when it […]

Over 50 Pennsylvania Schools Districts Violate Constitutionally Protected Student Religious Speech

Independence Law Center calls for districts to remedy policy violations. (HARRISBURG, PA – January 22, 2020) Today, the Independence Law Center notified over 50 Pennsylvania school districts of their unconstitutional policies that target religious speech and are now calling on them to make the necessary changes to their policies and student handbooks. “We’re asking all […]

Independence Law Center Files Appeal to Block Wrongful Taxation of Church

(HARRISBURG, PA – February 5, 2020) Earlier today, the Independence Law Center filed a tax assessment appeal after the Monroe County Board of Assessment Revision determined that Calvary Chapel of Stroudsburg is subject to property taxes on both its building and its land. The PA constitution and state law provide that places of worship are […]

2019 Religious Liberty Case Review: Independence Law Center

The Independence Law Center has enhanced your ability to live out your faith in 2019. Here are some of the ways we have protected ministries, protected religious liberty in our education systems and preserved your right to live out your values in the past year alone. These services are provided free of charge thanks to concerned individuals and […]

SCOTUS Declines Boyertown Case, Misses Opportunity to Protect Bodily Privacy for All Students

(HARRISBURG – May 28, 2019) The Independence Law Center today expressed disappointment with today’s announcement by the US Supreme Court rejecting its appeal in the personal privacy case involving students in the Boyertown Area School District. The case, Joel Doe et al. v. Boyertown Area School District, challenged the district’s unwritten policy that permits the […]

Christians In Action Club vs Mechanicsburg Area School District

Case Page Status Judge John E. Jones, III entered a final order in the case filed by students at the Mechanicsburg School District after the school prevented the students in the school’s Bible club from offering Bibles to other students from the club’s table in the cafeteria. After the initial conference in Federal Court, the […]

Lawsuit filed over unconstitutional school policy prohibiting students from offering Bibles to fellow students.

Mechanicsburg Area School District policies violate student speech rights, give principal unbridled discretion, and discriminate against religious speech. (MECHANICSBURG, PA – January 31, 2019) Student leaders of a Bible club have filed a lawsuit against Mechanicsburg Area School District (MASD) over unconstitutional policies that violate students’ rights and for their discriminatory practices that led to […]

Student Privacy Lawsuit Filed with Supreme Court

High school students ask nation’s highest court to intervene and protect their fundamental right to privacy (November 19, 2018) Today the Harrisburg-based Independence Law Center and the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a petition for review before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of six students in the Boyertown Area School District in Boyertown, Pa. Unbeknownst […]

Independence Law Center Files Brief in Support of Jack Phillips, SCOTUS case

On Wednesday, September 6th, the Independence Law Center filed a brief in support of Jack Phillips and his court case, now before the United States Supreme Court. Brief: Click here to download. Brief Summary: Independence Law Center encourages the U.S. Supreme Court to respect minority viewpoints and to not force expression from those who have a […]

Court allows PA school district to continue unwritten policy that violates student privacy

On Friday, August 25, 2017, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that the Boyertown Area School District can continue to violate the bodily privacy rights of their students. Boyertown school officials failed to respect the privacy rights that all students have under the U.S. Constitution and Pennsylvania law to use bathrooms […]

BREAKING: More students fight for privacy rights, join lawsuit against PA school district

School continues unwritten policy, told students to ‘tolerate’ undressing with members of the opposite sex PHILADELPHIA – Additional students have joined a federal lawsuit against the Boyertown Area School District (BASD) for intentionally violating their fundamental right to bodily privacy. Without any notice to students or parents, BASD opened its schools’ sex-specific restrooms and locker […]

Lawsuit – PA School District tells student to ‘tolerate’ undressing with student of the opposite sex; to make it as ‘natural’ as possible.

SUMMARY: The Boyertown Area School District, without parent or student notification, made an unwritten change to school policy and opened its sex-specific restrooms and locker rooms to students of the opposite sex. When a student was standing in his underwear about to put his gym clothes on, he suddenly realized there was a member of […]

Supreme Court Brief Filed in Support of Choose-Life License Plate

Independence Law Center asks high court to stop censorship of “offensive” speech (HARRISBURG, PA) – The Independence Law Center, in conjunction with Jonathan D. Christman of Fox Rothschild LLP, filed a brief on February 13, 2015 with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Children First Foundation, a pro-adoption nonprofit that has been promoting its […]

Supreme Court Affirms Nation’s Commitment to Religious Liberty

Independence Law Center hails victory for Lancaster company Conestoga Wood Specialties in abortifacient mandate case (HARRISBURG, PA) – Today the United States Supreme Court affirmed our nation’s historic understanding of religious liberty by providing an exception to the abortifacient mandate that had been handed down by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part […]

Protecting Religious Freedom of Businesses

A legal brief was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the appeal of Conestoga Wood Specialties and its owners, the Hahn family, in a case that is being closely watched nationally, along with the case of Hobby Lobby, because of its implications for religious freedom.   Conestoga, a wood cabinet business, […]

Standing Up for the Religious Freedom of Students

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled unanimously in favor of a student whose invitations to a church Christmas party, while in the 5th grade, were singled out and prohibited even though other student invitations were permitted.   One would have thought that this issue could have been worked out once the Pocono […]

Protecting Freedom of Religion from Non-Discrimination Laws

The Pennsylvania Human Relations—charged with enforcing Pennsylvania’s non-discrimination laws—entered a Final Order allowing Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen to continue offering a discount on Sundays to persons who come with a current church bulletin. Intolerant of religion in society, the Freedom from Religion Foundation and one of its members brought a Complaint with Pennsylvania’s non-discrimination agency, […]

Advocating for Parental Rights Before the U.S. Supreme Court

The Independence Law Center filed an amici brief before the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Court to respect parental rights. The case involves an amazing set of facts.

Good News for Life and the Disabled

The Independence Law Center won a case involving David Hockenberry, a mentally retarded man whose guardians sought court approval to refuse life-preserving medical treatment.

“Released Time” for Public Schools

In Pennsylvania, as in many other states, there is a law allowing for “released time” for public school students to receive religious instruction outside of school during the school day. A group in Pennsylvania called Weekday Religious Education does just that. Once a week, during lunch and recess, they feed lunch to participating elementary students […]

Law Center Wins Fight Against Church Taxation

Northmoreland Baptist Church recently built a new facility in order to carry on its Gospel mission more effectively. Wyoming County, however, has assessed property taxes for part of the church’s facility, namely the Fellowship Hall.

A Teenager is Protected from a Forced Abortion

Attorney Randall Wenger was given the unique opportunity of helping a minor teenager save her baby. She was being pressured by her mother to have an abortion.

Victory for King’s Men—Men’s Group Sued for Standing Against Pornography

The Independence Law Center went to court and came out victorious on behalf of The King’s Men, an organization that was sued by a sex-oriented business. Members of The King’s Men ( are a presence outside of some “adult” bookstores and strip clubs in Southeastern Pennsylvania, holding signs and encouraging men to stop frequenting such establishments. In attempting […]

PA Supreme Court Upholds Respect for Parental Consent

Just before Christmas of 2010, the Independence Law Center filed an amici brief on behalf of the Pa. Family Institute, the Pa. Pro-Life Federation, the Pa. Catholic Conference, and about 60 state legislators in a case called In the Interest of Jane Doe, which involved a minor seeking an abortion. State law requires a minor […]

Right to Attend Church

The Independence Law Center worked with a man who was prohibited by his probation officer from attending church. After receiving advice from the Law Center, the man was able to work out the situation with the probation officer so that his right to attend Sunday services and Wednesday evening Bible studies has been restored.

Win for Church’s Homeless Ministry

A Methodist Church in suburban Philadelphia took seriously the scriptural call to help the poor. They opened a homeless ministry to allow persons facing homelessness to stay at the church free of charge and to receive counseling while they got back on their feet financially. The Township zoning officer took a different view of the […]

Churches “Violate” Zoning by Meeting in Theater

Two churches have been in contact with the Independence Law Center after they were told they were violating zoning by meeting in a theater. One of the churches, meeting in a theater in Montgomery County, was told that they were in violation because “religious uses” were not permitted in a “shopping” zone. The Independence Law […]

Defending Limits on Nude Dance Club

Good news: Coyotes, a nude dance club in Bucks County, Pa, has closed for business, and the building is going up for sheriff’s sale! The Independence Law Center was on the case, helping local activists and township officials take steps to restrict and possibly even shut down this strip club. Working with a local men’s […]