Reflecting on the Victories of 2021 as We Charge Forward Into the New Year To Defend Life, Religious Liberty, and the Constitution
Another challenging year is drawing to a close. As we enter 2022, everyone at the ACLJ is already preparing to take on new challenges, as well as continue to fight the ongoing battles we’ve already engaged in defense of life, the Constitution, religious liberty, and persecuted Christians around the globe.
As the New Year begins, it’s important to reflect on the tireless efforts of our ACLJ legal team in 2021 by highlighting some of the biggest achievements, victories, and cases we’ve taken on.
Just as we did in 2020, we had to stop the radical Left from manipulating the COVID-19 pandemic to push its radical agenda, particularly when it comes to the unborn. While many non-essential, non-emergency medical procedures were drawn to a halt, the abortion lobby pushed hard to keep abortion clinics open for business, demonstrating once again that it doesn’t actually care about the safety of its patients or even its own staff.
We told you how, after the state of Tennessee placed a ban on all elective medical procedures during the pandemic, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood, allowing abortionists to keep their doors open, setting a bad, and, quite frankly, dangerous precedent of overruling a state’s authority.
The ACLJ filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court, urging the Court to grant review and vacate the Sixth Circuit’s decision. Thankfully, the Supreme Court agreed and did exactly that.
On January 25th, the Supreme Court granted the state’s petition for certiorari, vacated Planned Parenthood’s and the other plaintiffs’ Sixth Circuit victory, and sent the case back for dismissal as moot. Even though the emergency shutdown measure ended, the bad legal precedent has been wiped off the books.
We also successfully assisted a pro-life social worker after he was told to sign a new policy that required him to provide information and referrals to homeless clients on where to obtain abortions. We immediately sent a letter to the employer pointing out that an employee’s right to opt-out of signing the “Reproductive Healthcare” policy was protected by a mosaic of federal and state laws.
Shortly after our letter was sent, the employer informed him that the organization’s legal counsel had reviewed our letter and agreed with our conclusions. He is free to continue to care for the real needs of some of the neediest in our society without having to sign away his convictions about the sanctity of all human life.
Religious liberty seemed to fall under heavy fire this past year, and the ACLJ was there to defend it. We told you how in a period of just two months we received at least five legal- help requests by employees hoping to be able to attend church on Sunday. In each case, the ACLJ intervened and secured reasonable accommodations for all of these employees with the proper application of federal law under Title VII, including from major corporations such as Walmart.
We also had to take on religious discrimination and even vile antisemitism on the campuses of taxpayer-funded colleges and universities. Recently we told you how we’d been contacted by a Wyoming college student after a professor rejected her essay on a historical figure because she’d chosen to write about Jesus Christ.
Our legal team provided her with the proper information in a legal memo that she was able to present to the supervisor for the English department as well as one of the school’s deans, and she was able to persuade the school officials to let her proceed with her topic of Jesus.
Early on in 2020, we told you that we had filed a federal complaint on behalf of our client, Hillels of Georgia after the Director of Hillel at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) was denied entry to a public event because she is Jewish and affiliated with a Jewish organization. We filed a complaint with the Department of Education, calling for it to investigate and determine whether Georgia Tech had engaged in antisemitic discrimination in permitting a hostile environment and other violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
As a result of our legal efforts, Georgia Tech ultimately agreed to issue a statement that recognized and embraced the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, condemned antisemitism, and promised to work with Hillel on the next steps for ensuring the best possible campus environment for Jewish students and all students.
As you know in 2021, our battles to defend religious liberty and the U.S. Constitution were not limited to schools or the workplace. We had to challenge government bureaucracy and the radical Left as they blatantly attacked our protected freedoms.
Starting in 2020 and stretching well into the new year, the ACLJ represented three churches in a lawsuit challenging California’s ban on singing and chanting at indoor worship services throughout the state. After a series of positive developments, including the worship ban being repealed, California entered into settlement agreements in numerous cases, including ours, that prohibit the state from imposing discriminatory or unconstitutional restrictions upon churches in the future.
But the challenges didn’t end at the state level. Throughout 2021, we’ve directly taken on the Biden Administration in court as it attempts to undermine the Constitution at the expense of the American people. This year we defeated the Biden Administration’s unconstitutional attempt to strip individual states of their own authority in federal court. President Biden, House Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Schumer tried to tell states they are not allowed to lower their residents’ taxes, while maintaining the right of the federal government and states to raise taxes all they want.
We filed an amicus brief on behalf of 78 Members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House, led by Senators Mike Crapo and Tim Scott and Representatives Jim Banks and Kevin Brady, in the lawsuit brought by 13 states in federal district court in Alabama arguing the Tax Mandate was unconstitutional. The federal court in Alabama agreed, issuing its Opinion and Order, granting the states' request for a permanent injunction barring enforcement of the provision of ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) that constructively forbade states that receive ARPA/COVID-19 relief funds from lowering their residents’ taxes. The ruling was a major win for federalism and the Constitution, as well as for members of the ACLJ and the Members of Congress we represented.
While we celebrate these and other critical victories throughout 2021, we are well-aware that the new year will bring with it new challenges, new hurdles, and new attacks on life, religious freedom, and the Constitution. The ACLJ will not back down, because we have the full strength and support of our ACLJ members. You make the critical work we do possible.
On behalf of our family and the entire ACLJ team worldwide, we thank you for your continued support and prayer, and we wish you a Happy New Year.