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Lutheran Legal League
Orlando, Florida
(904) 591-4822

Cert Petition

PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI

Trinity Lutheran Church applied for Missouri’s Scrap Tire Grant Program so that it could provide a safer playground for children who attend its daycare and for neighborhood children who use the playground after hours—a purely secular matter. But the state denied Trinity’s application solely because it is a church. The Eighth Circuit affirmed that denial by equating a grant to resurface Trinity’s playground using scrap tire material with funding the devotional training of clergy. The Eighth  Circuit’s decision was not faithful to this Court’s ruling in Locke v. Davey, 540 U.S. 712 (2004), and deepened an existing circuit conflict. Three lower courts—two courts of appeals and one state supreme court—interpret Locke as justifying the exclusion of religion from a neutral aid program where no valid Establishment Clause concern exists. In contrast, two courts of appeals remain faithful to Locke and the unique historical concerns on which it relied.

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