Constitutional Law Keyed to Varatback
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To provide low-cost housing to the unemployed, a city has a policy of leasing empty city owned buildings to social agencies that promise to convert or rehabilitate the buildings into habitable, low-cost apartments and to pay the city 10% of any net profit made from rentals. A church entered into such an agreement with the city and converted one of the city’s abandoned office buildings into 50 small, low-cost apartments. The lease agreement used by the church provides, among other things, that the lessee must affirm a belief in God. The lease agreement was submitted to the city for approval prior to its use by the church, and it was approved. On the first day that the church made the apartments available for rent, the plaintiff, an avowed atheist, applied to lease a unit. The plaintiff’s application was denied for the sole reason that the plaintiff refused to affirm a belief in God.
If the plaintiff brings suit against the church on the ground that the required affirmation of a belief in God violates the plaintiff’s constitutional rights, who likely will prevail?CorrectIncorrect
An astronomer who had studied the moon for more than 20 years became convinced that the moon began sending him messages revealing how to achieve an afterlife. The astronomer created a website where he shared the secrets that the moon had revealed. He gained a sizeable following. A wealthy follower convinced the astronomer that they should build an observatory to serve as the national headquarters for the astronomer and his followers. The observatory was built, and the astronomer continued to study the moon from the observatory. He also held weekly meetings at the observatory at which he revealed the continuing messages that he received from the moon. Some followers attended the meetings regularly, and some watched the meetings via an Internet feed. After receiving his first state property tax bill for the observatory, the astronomer applied for a state property tax exemption that was available for houses of worship. After conducting an investigation, the state denied the observatory tax exempt status.
The astronomer filed suit to overturn the denial. The state moved for a summary judgment, arguing that the exemption is avail able only for houses of worship and that, because the astronomer and his followers do not belong to a recognized religion, the observatory is not eligible for the exemption as a matter of law.
How should the court rule on the motion?CorrectIncorrect
The mayor of a small city decided that he would like to start each city council meeting with a nonsectarian prayer. Several city council members and citizens objected to the proposal, claiming that it would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The mayor argued that it would not constitute the establishment of a religion because he would invite clerics from all of the different religious sects to take turns giving the prayer at the meetings. When the council members still objected, the mayor asked the city attorney to research the constitutionality of his proposal.
How should the attorney advise the mayor?CorrectIncorrect
A state adopted a statute requiring all public-school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. A parent of a public-school student objected to the requirement because the Pledge includes the words, “under God.” The parent brought suit in state court, seeking an injunction based on an alleged violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as applied to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In deciding the substance of the parent’s claim, which of the following factors would be most relevant?CorrectIncorrect
A small town had a municipal auditorium that all groups were permitted to use. Lately, a local preacher has begun to hold recruiting seminars for his religious cult at the auditorium. Sensing the displeasure of the Voting public and fearing that the auditorium would become a Mecca for fringe religious groups, the town council adopted the following ordinance: “Effective immediately, no religious groups will be permitted to use the municipal auditorium for meetings, speeches, or other public gatherings.” The preacher, who was having great success recruiting followers in the town, challenged the constitutionality of the ordinance in federal court.
Based on the above facts, his challenge should:CorrectIncorrect