This would change the character of these lawsuits. Take away the monetary incentive and they will begin to dry up.
Some U.S. senators this week have heard testimony from both sides on a piece of legislation that would strip legal fees from church-state lawsuits. Such legal victories, often described as “Establishment Clause” cases, have provided the American Civil Liberties Union with millions of dollars in profits as it pursues numerous cases challenging public displays of religious belief in America.
Senator Sam Brownback (Rep.-KS) says public officials who fear costly litigation often cave in to the mere threat of lawsuits alleging violation of the separation of church and state. That is why he is sponsoring a Senate bill that would block plaintiffs from collecting attorneys fees for lawsuits alleging “establishment of religion.”The Public Expressions of Religion Act (PERA) (S. 3696) was the topic of discussion at hearings on Wednesday (August 2) before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights. The U.S. House is considering similar legislation (H.R. 2679) that is sponsored by Indiana Congressman John Hostettler. Brownback has made it clear in recent weeks that if groups like the ACLU want to sue city after city for displays of religious images, it should be on their own dime — not at taxpayers’ expense. Read More.