Religious liberty is said to be winning at the U.S. Supreme Court amidst current events as revealed by a study published in The Supreme Court Review, an annual publication of the University of Chicago Press.
According to CBN News, the study shows that the U.S. Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice John Roberts successfully favors religious liberty by 81%, revealing a 31% increase as compared to previous decisions of the Supreme Court. This means that the current Supreme Court favor religious liberty more than courts within the past 70 years.
"Plainly, the Roberts court has ruled in favor of religious organizations, including mainstream Christian organizations, more frequently than its predecessors. With the replacement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Amy Coney Barrett, this trend will not end soon and may accelerate," the study said.
The study said that there was only a 46% favorability to cases on religious liberty during the 50s and 60s when the U.S. Supreme Court was under Chief Justice Earl Warren, a 51% favorability during the '60s to the '80s under Chief Justice Warren Burger, and a 58% favorability under Chief Justice William Rehnquist during the '80s to 2005.
"The justices who are largely responsible for this shift are Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh. While there are some differences among these justices, and Kavanaugh has been involved in only a handful cases, they are clearly the most pro-religion justices on the Supreme Court going back at least until World War II," the study highlighted.
As per The New York Times, the study was written by Lee Epstein of Washington University in St. Louis and Eric A. Posner of the University of Chicago. The NYTimes also reported that all justices are Republican appointees and evidently approved several landmark cases during former President Donald Trump's term.
Specifically, the court approved that employers can deny contraceptive coverage for female employees on the basis of their religious belief. State programs were also approved to include religious schools in their private schools supported along with teachers at religious schools be included in the coverage of employment discrimination laws.
Recent cases as example is the U.S. court siding with California churches to hold worship services, with a student whose college prevented him from faith sharing, and blocking New York Governor Andrew Cuomo from enforcing COVID-19 restrictions on houses of worship for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and the Agudah Israel of America.
CBN News said a common ground of argument is the use of the First Amendment for cases on religious liberty to win in the Supreme Court. Family Research Council member Katherine Beck Johnson emphasized this in an interview with CBN News.
"We're simply using the first amendment as our protection. We're utilizing it at the courts. it is our right, and we're winning because the Left is infringing on our first amendment right," Johnson said in the interview.
The NYTimes cited the "weaponizing of the First Amendment" for doing the same way back in 2018 under Justice Elena Kagan. It cited the authors of the study in saying that defendants are "using the religion clauses to privilege mostly mainstream religious organizations" in the same way that "the majority has weaponized free speech in service of business and conservative interests.
Recently, the Biden Administration has been reported to be moving against religious freedom with its push to implement the Equality Act and the removal of a top government official from her post due to her stand on religious freedom. This week the administration disbanded former President Donald Trump's Commission on Unalienable Rights that was designed to promote religious freedom internationally.