For Immediate Release
Contact: Jasmine Banks, 202-238-9088, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, DC, March 6, 2023) – Today the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case that would have stripped citizens of the right to challenge government actions that infringe on religious liberty. The petition of certiorari was opposed by the American Humanist Association on behalf of Art Rojas, et al., in Ocala, Florida. The city of Ocala requested that the justices overturn long standing precedent and rule that no one has standing to sue when their government violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Justices Gorsuch and Thomas filed a statement and dissent, respectively, calling into question the legality of the so-called, “offended observer” standing.
“Today’s decision to send Ocala back to the district court reinforces what the American Humanist Association has long fought for: government entities cannot coercively promote religious practices,” said Sunil Panikkath, President of the American Humanist Association. “As opponents to the separation of religion and government continue their anti-democratic agenda in their attempts to obliterate the line between church and state, our work defending that separation becomes ever more important to ensure the religious freedom of all Americans.”
The case will now return to the U.S. District Court for rehearing in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School Dist. The American Humanist Association will continue our historic commitment to democracy and the fight for secular governance. This is a critical moment for our movement and we are prepared to fiercely defend the ground we have gained.
The American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity. Learn more at www.americanhumanist.org