Although there’s no real formula for predicting whether the U.S. Supreme Court will accept a case for review, there is one factor that raises the stakes in the writ of certiorari game considerably: wacky religious cases appealed from Texas. Take Van Orden v. Perry, the case involving a lawyer living in a tent who filed a constitutional challenge against the state of Texas, arguing that the Ten Commandments monument outside the State Capitol building violated the 1st Amendment. The Supremes took that case and wrote in 2005 that the monument wasn’t a government endorsement of religion, because it conveyed both a religious and secular message. Now the court is peeking at another Texas case with a devilish flavor, Pleasant Glade Assembly of God, et al. v. Laura Schubert. The plaintiff, a woman who claims she was injured during an alleged exorcism at a North Texas church, has asked the court to review her case. In June, the Texas Supreme Court tossed out her case in a 6-3 decision, saying Texas courts had no authority to consider such claims, because to do so would violate a church’s 1st Amendment rights. My guess is that David Pruessner, a Dallas insurance coverage lawyer who won the Texas Supreme Court case for the defendants, needs to start looking into air fare to Washington D.C.
-- John Council