Neil M. Gorsuch joins the Supreme Court just in time to cast potentially significant votes in cases that pit religious liberty against gay rights, test limits on funding for church schools and challenge California’s restrictions on carrying a concealed gun in public.
But Stanford law professor Michael McConnell, a former federal judge who served with Gorsuch, said the court may want to make clear that the government may not discriminate against religious entities. States need not offer subsidies to private schools, he said, or in this case, donate scrap tires to nonprofit organizations. But once they do so, he contended, they may not exclude a church-run daycare center. “This involves a singling out a religious entity for disfavorable treatment,” he said.
Such issues arise either in appeals filed by conservative groups that have been pending before the justices for weeks or in cases to be heard later this month.Read More