Catholic FAQ


Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Archive > Archive > SCOTUS: 2006
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

 
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Oct 13, '05, 8:56 pm
Digitonomy Digitonomy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 19, 2004
Posts: 7,305
Default Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita pits UN treaty against religious freedom

This looks like a good test of the extent of the RFRA. My guess is that despite the lower courts upholding it, SCOTUS will rule against the religious group for one or more of the reasons argued by the government.

Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal, et al.(04-1084)
Quote:
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (“RFRA”) generally prohibits the federal government from restricting the use of controlled substances in bona fide religious ceremonies. A small North American sect of the Brazilian group, “O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal” (“UDV”) has challenged the government’s enforcement of a ban on DMT, a Schedule I narcotic and principle ingredient of “hoasca” a tea imported from South America that is central to UDV’s religious rituals.
Among the reasons given by the government for claiming an exception to the RFRA is the fact that importation of DMT violates the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which the US signed in 1971 and ratified in 1980.
Quote:
Supporters of UDV fear a government victory here will lead to further insidious errosions of religious protections, while others fear a victory by UDV will leave government powerless to prevent dangerous substances from harming citizens if those substances are given blanket protection in the name of religious freedom.
  #2  
Old Oct 31, '05, 2:38 am
Digitonomy Digitonomy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 19, 2004
Posts: 7,305
Default Re: Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita pits UN treaty against religious freedom

A little more background on this case from the CS Monitor.
Quote:
If the nation's drug laws are found to trump religious protections, other laws might also be applied in ways that substantially erode religious freedom, legal analysts say.

On the other hand, if religion may be invoked to easily bypass the nation's criminal laws, that could greatly complicate and undermine federal law-enforcement efforts...

....She says the government's argument concerning international treaties is also flawed. The treaty doesn't apply to sacramental tea, she says, and other treaties signed by the US require signatory governments to respect and accommodate religious practices.
  #3  
Old Nov 3, '05, 8:12 pm
Digitonomy Digitonomy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 19, 2004
Posts: 7,305
Default Re: Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita pits UN treaty against religious freedom

This case was argued the other day, but it doesn't appear that the treaty angle figured prominently in the arguments.
Quote:
Supreme Court hears hallucinogenic tea case (AP via CNN)

...The Supreme Court has dealt with religious drug cases before. Justices ruled 15 years ago that states could criminalize the use of peyote by American Indians. But Congress changed the law to allow the sacramental use in tribal services of peyote, a bitter-tasting cactus that includes the hallucinogen mescaline....Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the 1990 peyote opinion, said tribes have been using peyote -- "a demonstration you can make an exception without the sky falling."

The man nominated to replace the retiring O'Connor, Samuel Alito, has dealt with a variety of religion cases as an appeals court judge. He wrote a 1999 opinion allowing Muslim police officers to keep their beards and voted that year to permit a government holiday display containing a creche, a menorah, a banner celebrating diversity and secular symbols of the season

...Bush administration lawyer Edwin Kneedler told justices that the drug not only violates a federal narcotics law, but a treaty in which the United States promised to block the importation of drugs including dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT. The hoasca tea had been imported from Brazil. He said other countries could back off the international war-on-drugs, citing lax U.S. enforcement of the treaty. Kneedler noted that the peyote used by Native Americans is grown in America and used here.
  #4  
Old Feb 21, '06, 8:51 pm
Digitonomy Digitonomy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 19, 2004
Posts: 7,305
Default Re: Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita pits UN treaty against religious freedom

My guess was wrong, SCOTUS returned a 9-0 ruling upholding the use of the drug.
Quote:

High court upholds rights of minority sects vs. US drug laws


In a unanimous ruling with major implications for minority religious groups in America, the US Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the right of religious organizations to claim exemption from certain laws that undercut their ability to practice their faith....

The ruling has particular significance for minority religious groups whose faith includes practices and rites that are sometimes derided and ridiculed....

"If such use [of peyote] is permitted in the face of the general congressional findings for hundreds of thousands of native Americans practicing their faith," Roberts writes, "those same findings alone cannot preclude consideration of a similar exception for the 130 or so American members of the UDV who want to practice theirs."
  #5  
Old Feb 21, '06, 9:00 pm
Digitonomy Digitonomy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 19, 2004
Posts: 7,305
Default Re: Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita pits UN treaty against religious freedom

And about that treaty....

Just some armchair quarterbacking on my part, but the administration's lukewarm attitude toward the application of international law in the United States may have been a factor in this case. Here is what John Roberts writes in the decision :
Quote:
The fact that hoasca is covered by the convention, however, does not automatically mean that the Government has demonstrated a compelling interest in applying the Controlled Substances Act, which implements the Convention, to the UDV’s sacramental use of the tea. At the present stage, it suffices to observe that the Government did not even submit evidence addressing the international consequences of granting an exemption for the UDV. The Government simply submitted two affidavits by State Department officials attesting to the generalimportance of honoring international obligations and of maintaining the leadership position of the United States in the international war on drugs.
(underlining mine, italics his)
 

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Archive > Archive > SCOTUS: 2006

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8048Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: georget
4829CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: Vim71
4295Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: James_OPL
4027OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: fencersmother
3813SOLITUDE
Last by: Prairie Rose
3377Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: RJB
3184Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: libralion
3150Poems and Reflections
Last by: PathWalker
2962For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: libralion
2701Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: Amiciel



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 1:11 pm.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2013, Catholic Answers.