The North Carolina Court of Appeals today issued a calendar setting argument in the case of Breedlove v. Warren for May 11, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.
Breedlove is a religious liberty challenge brought by the Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom (CLF) and Ellis Boyle Law, PLLC. At issue is whether the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) violated the religious liberties of two magistrates when it issued memoranda informing the men that they had to either participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies or resign their positions as magistrates. CLF argues that the AOC’s memoranda contained incorrect statements of law upon which the plaintiffs reasonably relied. The Court of Appeals must decide whether the plaintiffs have standing to challenge exertions of authority by the AOC.
The case brings into question numerous legal issues. One such issue is whether and how administrative agencies can be held accountable for exerting authority over state employees that they do not directly hire or fire. Another is whether the North Carolina Constitution provides stronger protections for religious liberty than the United States Constitution.
If the plaintiffs prevail at the Court of Appeals, the case will be remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. All filings in the case are available in the CLF litigation library, located here.