Robertson Center for Constitutional Law Impacting Cases at U.S. Supreme Court
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (Mar. 14, 2023) – The Robertson Center for Constitutional Law just had its most active month since it was established in June of 2020. In the past month, the Robertson Center filed a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief in Groff v. DeJoy, filed an amicus brief in support of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and represented two former members of Congress in a Department of Health and Human Services rulemaking proceeding regarding the conscience rights of healthcare workers.
The Robertson Center pairs scholarship and advocacy to promote first principles in constitutional law. The amicus brief in Groff v. DeJoy was the fifth U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief filed by the Robertson Center in less than three years. “It was an incredible learning experience to work on a U.S. Supreme Court brief and present our original research directly to the Court,” said Alex Touchet, Constitutional Law Fellow at the Robertson Center. “I can’t imagine a better way to start my legal career.”
“We launched the Robertson Center less than three years ago. In that short time, we’ve already established a national reputation for excellence. As our reputation has grown, so too have the opportunities for our faculty and students to participate in some high-profile matters,” said Brad Lingo, dean of Regent University’s School of Law.
Here’s a look at the Robertson Center’s recent matters:
Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Groff v. DeJoy, No. 22-174
The Robertson Center filed an amicus brief on February 28 asking the Supreme Court to overturn Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison, a 1977 case that weakened Title VII’s protections for religious employees. The brief describes the Robertson Center’s original research showing that more than 80% of religious accommodation claims are brought by working-class Americans. The brief asks the Court to restore the protections provided by the plain language of Title VII before religious, working-class Americans suffer more harm.
Ninth Circuit Amicus Brief in Fellowship of Christian Athletes v. San José Unified School District Board of Education, No. 22-15827
This is the second amicus brief the Robertson Center has filed before the Ninth Circuit in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The first brief, filed in 2022, supported the Fellowship of Christian Athletes student club on appeal after San José Unified School District stripped the club of its status as a fully recognized student organization at three high schools in the district.
After the en banc Ninth Circuit agreed to rehear the case, the Robertson Center filed this amicus brief on February 22 to reiterate its First Amendment and Equal Access Act arguments and to clarify aspects of the Equal Access Act that the lower court and the School District got wrong.
Written Comment Regarding the Department of Health and Human Services’ Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Safeguarding the Rights of Conscience as Protected by Federal Statutes, 88 Fed. Reg. 820
The Robertson Center filed a written comment on behalf of Senator Daniel Coats and Representative David Weldon in a Department of Health and Human Services rulemaking proceeding. This comment comes three years after the Center filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit on behalf of Senator Coats and Representative Weldon in New York v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in 2020. There, the Center argued in support of the Department’s 2019 rule that enforced various federal conscience protections, including the Coats-Snowe Amendment and the Weldon Amendment.
Here, Senator Coats’ and Representative Weldon’s comment asks the Department to reject the erroneous reasoning put forth in the Department’s 2023 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and to retain the protections provided by the 2019 iteration of that rule.
Learn more about the work of the Robertson Center for Constitutional Law at https://constitutionallaw.regent.edu/our-work/.
About the Robertson Center for Constitutional Law
The Robertson Center for Constitutional Law is an academic center within the Regent University School of Law. Established in 2020, the Robertson Center pairs advocacy and scholarship to advance first principles in constitutional law, including originalism, separation of powers, and religious liberty. The Robertson Center has represented former members of Congress, Christian ministries, and others in briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts.
About Regent University
Founded in 1977, Regent University is America’s premier Christian university, with more than 13,000 students studying on its 70-acre campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and online around the world. The university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in more than 150 areas of study including business, communication and the arts, counseling, cybersecurity, divinity, education, government, law, leadership, nursing, healthcare, and psychology. Regent University has been ranked the #1 Best Accredited Online College in the United States (Study.com, 2020), the #1 Safest College Campus in Virginia (YourLocalSecurity, 2021), and the #1 Best Online Bachelor’s Program in Virginia for 11 years in a row (U.S. News & World Report, 2023).