Judge Reeves on HB 1523
July 11, 2016 § 2 Comments
You may find it useful in your family practice to have a copy of U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves’s opinion in Barber, et al. v. Bryant, et al., handed down June 30, 2016. Here is a link to it.
This is the suit that asked for an injunction against enforcement or of HB 1523, also colloquially known as the “Religious Freedom Bill,” that in essence left it to individual conscience and judgment whether to follow the law. It was to have gone into effect July 1, 2016, by its terms. Judge Reeves’s ruling is that it is unconstitutional, and, therefore, unenforceable. His conclusion paragraph states:
Religious freedom was one of the building blocks of this great nation, and after the nation was torn apart, the guarantee of equal protection under law was used to stitch it back together. But HB 1523 does not honor that tradition of religion freedom, nor does it respect the equal dignity of all of Mississippi’s citizens. It must be enjoined.
As of this writing, it is unclear whether the governor, attorney general, or other defendants will appeal, or who would bear that expense, but it seems unlikely, in my opinion, that the Fifth Circuit would overturn the ruling.
[Update: Since this was written, Gov. Bryant has announced that he intends to appeal.]