GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc., et al., Petitioners
Georgia, et al.
Docketed: October 22, 2012
Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Case Nos.: (11-10387)
Decision Date: July 20, 2012
~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings and Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Oct 16 2012 Petition for a writ of certiorari filed. (Response due November 21, 2012)
Oct 23 2012 Waiver of right of respondents Georgia, et al. to respond filed.
A single question is presented:
Does a state criminal law that targets religion, and is neither neutral nor generally
applicable, pass strict scrutiny muster underthe Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment?
Looking at the law in question:
O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127(b) says, in pertinent part:
A person shall be guilty of carrying a weapon or long gun in an unauthorized location and punished as for a misdemeanor when he or she carries a weapon or long gun while:
(1) In a government building;Subsection (c) says that a “license holder . . . shall be authorized to carry a weapon . . . in every location in this state not listed in subsection (b). . . .”
(2) In a courthouse;
(3) In a jail or prison;
(4) In a place of worship;
(5) In a state mental health facility . . . ;
(6) In a bar, unless the owner of the bar permits the carrying of weapons or long guns by license holders;
(7) On the premises of a nuclear power plant . . . ;
(8) Within 150 feet of any polling place. . . . ;
In essence, Georgia considers the above eight places to be "sensitive places" where public safety outweighs a civil right.
However, both the district court and the appeals court refused to address the basic issue: That a law cannot burden religiously motivated conduct
- here the conduct is attending a religious service - unless such conduct is also applied generally. Instead, the Circuit Court said that the law would be invalid if it burdened religiously held beliefs
This is a distinct departure in how the Courts have, until now, applied laws, as they relate to religion.
Since this is a "published" opinion, it is now law in the 11th Circuit. There is now a circuit split. Whether or not it is enough of an issue to peak the interest of the SCOTUS, is the real question.
Petition for a Writ of Certiorari