On Thursday The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty submitted a friend-of-the-court brief o a San Francisco federal district court in a case challenging certain church employee benefit plans as violating church-state separation.
The brief argues that
“church plans” are a constitutionally permissible accommodation of religion.
The brief was prepared by Professor Eugene Volokh and UCLA
School of Law students Nathaniel Barrett, Garry Padrta, and Paulette Rodríguez
López, as part of the new UCLA First Amendment Amicus Brief
Clinic. Professor Volokh is a nationally known First Amendment scholar who
recently founded the Clinic and is also one of the founders of the prominent
“Volokh Conspiracy” legal blog.
plans are a common-sense way for the government to accommodate both the unique
nature of religious institutions of all faiths and protect benefits for those
who work in the field of religion,” said Eric Rassbach, Deputy
General Counsel at the Becket Fund and a former guest on Faith on Trial. “This
trial lawyer attack on the constitutionality of church plans is rooted in the
wrong-headed notion that separating church and state means government should
pretend there is nothing special about religious organizations at all.”
Rassbach also stated, “We are happy to partner with Professor Volokh and the
law students at UCLA on this important brief and thank them for their service
in the cause of religious liberty.”
Rollins v. Dignity Health, claims that Dignity Health, a Catholic healthcare
system, is not sufficiently Catholic to qualify for “church plan” status under
federal pension benefits law. The Becket Fund’s brief does not address this
largely factual question, focusing instead on the plaintiffs’ separate attack
on church plans as unconstitutional.