February: Executed Muslim denied Imam, congressional accusations of anti-Semitism, and more

Judicial Branch

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow a Muslim inmate to be executed without a religious spiritual advisor with him in the execution chamber. Only a Christian chaplain is employed by the Alabama Department of Corrections. The Court ruled on the grounds that his request for an Imam to be present was filed late.

The Washington Post reported on the large number of court cases challenging Roe v. Wade that could make their way to the Supreme Court.

Legislative Branch

A Muslim and a Jewish member of Congress accused each other of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in an ongoing debate about boycotts of Israel and the influence of pro-Israel lobby groups. Vox’s explanation is very thorough, if a bit partial.

A Louisiana representative accused congressional Democrats of omitting “so help you God” from the swearing-in of witnesses.

Executive Branch

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a new rule that will effectively decrease funding to Planned Parenthood. Some of the funds will be diverted to faith-based groups focused on reducing abortion.

Donald Trump and others spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast.

After two years of vacancy, the Trump administration appointed Elan Carr as US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Carr was most recently deputy district attorney for Los Angeles.

States

After a series of measles outbreaks, state legislators around the country introduced bills to curtail religious exemptions to vaccination.

Many states also began deliberation on bills that would permit or promote studying the Bible in schools. The legislation is part of “Project Blitz,” a movement coordinating among conservative state lawmakers.

The Missouri Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit by a member of the Satanic Temple who said the state’s abortion restrictions violated her religious beliefs.

A tax preparer in Indiana declined to do the taxes of a married same-sex couple. Indiana has no laws preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.