Voices
Ellen K. Boegel is America’s contributing editor for legal affairs.
In this March 30, 2021, file photo, anti-abortion rights demonstrators gather in the rotunda at the Capitol while the Senate debated anti-abortion bills in Austin, Texas. Young people on social media have found a way to protest Texas' new law banning most abortions by focusing on a website established by the state's largest anti-abortion group that takes in tips on violations. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)
Politics & SocietyNews Analysis
Ellen K. Boegel
The Texas Heartbeat Act is an extraordinary departure from legal norms. The law empowers “any person,” other than a government official, to sue everyone involved in performing an abortion after the detection of fetal “cardiac activity.”
President Joe Biden leaves Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington after Mass Jan. 24, 2021. (CNS photo/Erin Scott, Reuters)
Politics & SocietyNews Analysis
Ellen K. Boegel
If Joe Biden wants his presidency to have a lasting impact on religious freedom, he and his fellow Democrats must craft legislation acceptable to Republican senators.
Protesters burn U.S. flags during a protest in front of Trump Tower, Saturday, July 4, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Politics & SocietyExplainer
Ellen K. Boegel
Branding “antifa” (short for “antifascist”) or any domestic association as a terror group is problematic, primarily because the United States “does not officially designate domestic terrorist organizations.”
07.08.2020 In this 2016 file photo, Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, mother provincial of the Denver-based Little Sisters of the Poor, speaks to the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters)
Politics & SocietyNews Analysis
Ellen K. Boegel
Justice Clarence Thomas’s majority opinion is a decisive win for religious rights advocates, but it may not be the last chapter in this story.
Mike Decker of Nashville, Tenn., applies an electrostatic disinfectant at Christ the King Church May 15, 2020. Bishop J. Mark Spalding has reinstated the public celebration of Mass in the diocese at the discretion of pastors, effective May 18. (CNS photo/Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register)
Politics & SocietyColumns
Ellen K. Boegel
The Trump administration is permitting state and local governments to exert their traditional power to draft and enforce health and safety regulations. This has led to a variety of responses across the country and even within the same state.
FaithExplainer
Ellen K. Boegel
Regardless of federal funding rules, proselytizers, practitioners and preachers should be aware of state tort laws that impose liability for harmful speech. Whether religious speech is immune from defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims depends on the context and content of the speech.
A Catholic school classroom in Phoenix, Ariz., gets down to work. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
FaithNews Analysis
Ellen K. Boegel
Disputes regarding the enforcement of hair grooming standards at religious schools require application of fundamental church-and-state principles that are unique to the United States.
The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Maryland (SSBN 738), Blue crew, returns to homeport at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., following a strategic deterrence patrol. Maryland is one of five ballistic-missile submarines stationed at the base and is capable of carrying up to 20 submarine-launched ballistic missiles with multiple warheads. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ashley Berumen/Released)
Politics & SocietyExplainer
Ellen K. Boegel
The obvious religious motivation of the Plowshares activists did not insulate them from criminal prosecution. The First Amendment prohibits the government from applying different rules to religious believers, but the Plowshares defendants were treated the same as any other intruder on government property.
First-grader Grace Burns chats with a classmate while working on a project on the first day of classes at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Regional School in Center Moriches, N.Y., Sept. 4, 2019. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
Politics & SocietyExplainer
Ellen K. Boegel
Despite the alphabet soup of acronyms used to describe educational programs and the bureaucratic red tape involved in obtaining benefits, learning is a singular experience and small improvements can have profound impacts.
A man walks past a memorial on Aug. 7, 2019, for those killed in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, four days earlier. Three U.S. bishops' committee chairmen issued a statement Aug. 8 to call on the nation's elected officials "to exert leadership in seeking to heal the wounds" of the country caused by the Aug. 3 and 4 mass shootings and urged an end to hateful rhetoric many see as a factor in the violence particularly in Texas. The Aug. 3 shooting in El Paso, Texas, was followed less than 24 hours later by th
Politics & SocietyExplainer
Ellen K. Boegel
Unlike other nations that prohibit or narrowly restrict ownership of high-body-count weaponry and ammunition, the United States is hindered in establishing effective gun control by federal and state constitutional roadblocks. Understanding these roadblocks is essential to devising a route around them.