ACLJ wins BIG in Court Against Biden's Unconstitutional Overreach
We have helped win at the district court level against the Biden Administration. We took legal action after the Biden Administration used the sixth COVID-19 stimulus bill to take away states’ ability to cut or ban taxes. Basically, President Biden and the Left enacted legislation declaring that if states took federal relief money – which of course they would to help their own constituents – then they were not able to lower taxes for four years.
ACLJ Chief Counsel and my dad Jay Sekulow summed up the power grab attempt by the Biden Administration:
What is so important about this is that the idea was to get economic relief into the states so that the states can get economic relief to the people. Part of that may have been that the states say we’ve got economic relief coming in, let's lower our tax burden on people. They may increase taxes in other areas, but that was up to the states. That is because we believe in federalism that the federal government doesn’t control what the state does with taxation. But in this particular case, the Biden Administration decided we are going to bootstrap the state governments and tell them what they can tax and not tax. And if they take our money, they cannot lower the taxes. It didn’t say if you take our money, you can’t increase the taxes on your citizens that are suffering during this pandemic. But what they did say was – if you take this money, you can’t lower your taxes.
So, if you want to raise taxes during a pandemic, that’s fine. But if you want to lower them you can’t?
On behalf of 74 Members of Congress and our members, the ACLJ filed an amicus brief in support of the states who challenged this bill. The court agreed with our argument and deemed the tax cut ban unconstitutional. While this case was a great victory, we expect the Biden Administration to appeal it. So, this fight is not over yet.
Another legal battle that is not over yet is a case out of the City of Ocala, Florida, regarding a ruling declaring that government officials can no longer encourage citizens to pray amid a difficult time in their community and volunteer chaplains can no longer lead members of their community in prayer. Read an in-depth analysis of the case here.
ACLJ Senior Counsel Abigail Southerland joined Sekulow to discuss the case:
This case is incredibly important because it is a legislative prayer case and as we point out in our appellate brief there is a long history of our nation’s leaders – local and national leaders – calling for prayer during difficult times in history and that is exactly what occurred here.
ACLJ Director of Government Affairs Thann Bennett explained how calling for prayer and the existence of chaplains exist in Congress:
They open the sessions with prayer. There is a chaplain in the United States Senate and the United States House. I am on their email distribution list and I get their devotionals that come out on a weekly basis. Those have been challenged and attacked too and we have defended those as well. And interestingly enough, Members of Congress on a bipartisan basis have stood with us on that, they want those chaplains there. You’ve got to have partners on the ground and fortunately we have.
We immediately took action to defend religious liberty and filed a brief on behalf of the City of Ocala.
This case could very well end up in the Supreme Court. Religious liberty has been attacked for a long time, and we have always defended our first freedom. We have to continue to defend legislative prayers and chaplains. America has a long history of calling for prayer and our Founders have sought to secure and protect our First Amendment. We will continue to monitor these cases and provide updates.
Today’s full Sekulow broadcast is complete with further analysis of two major legal battles we are fighting in court on behalf of ACLJ members.
Watch the full broadcast below.