Religious Freedom

chklt_relig_100: Religious Freedom

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

— First Amendment

Religious freedom is the right to practice the religion of one's choice or no religion at all. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights protects religious freedom by keeping religion free from government interference and coercion.

Legal Cases

  • State v. Collado
    Case asking the court to apply the exclusionary rule to violations of the “knock-and-announce” requirement in search warrants.
  • State v. Myers, State v. Nyema
    Police stopped a car based on a vague race-based description of people who committed a robbery. Our amicus brief on behalf of clergy detailed the harm caused by such stops and urged to Court to create a rule that would prohibit them.
  • State v. Bailey
    Amicus brief addressing whether the retroactive application of the newly enacted crime-fraud exception to the marital communications privilege violates the ex post facto clauses of the federal and state constitutions.
  • In re: Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive Nos. 2020-05 and 2020-06
    Police union challenge to AG directives ordering the public disclosure of the identities of officers sanctioned for serious disciplinary violations.
  • State v. Andujar
    In this novel case, the ACLU-NJ argued that the State’s unlawful and racial use of its law enforcement power against a qualified Black potential juror, F.G., by running a criminal background check on him and later having him arrested from the courthouse on a municipal warrant as a replacement for having to show cause for dismissal or using preemptory challenges resulted in an unfair trial. The State’s abuse of its law enforcement power deprived a criminal defendant of equal protection and his right to trial by an impartial jury, and a New Jerseyan of his right to serve as a juror.
  • Juan R. v. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
    Challenge to mass transfers of individuals in ICE custody with existing attorney-client relationships to distant detention facilities
  • Harris v. Newark
    The ACLU-NJ joined this case as amicus on the sole issue of whether a denial of qualified immunity to defendant law enforcement as part of a summary judgment motion is appealable on an interlocutory basis in New Jersey state court.
  • Bland & Bland v. Del Mauro, Et Al.
    An appeal seeking to review and reverse an award of qualified immunity to defendant police officers on a summary judgment motion, in an action brought by the plaintiff under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act, where the facts of the police shooting are in dispute.
  • Sonia Doe v. NJ Department of Corrections
    Challenge under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and New Jersey Constitution to the Department of Corrections' mistreatment of a woman because she is transgender, including housing her for over a year and a half in men’s prisons.
  • Asbury Park Press v. Township of Neptune
    Amicus brief in support of public access to police internal affairs records.

Legislative Efforts

  • Bail System Reform
    Moves New Jersey’s bail system to a risk-based one and away from a wealth-based system.
  • Marijuana Decriminalization
    Removes possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana from the list of disorderly persons offenses and creates a $50 civil penalty for such possession.
  • “Ban the Box”
    Prohibits employers from conducting a criminal history inquiry of a job applicant until after a conditional offer
  • DNA Collection for Low-Level Offenses
    Requires law enforcement to collect DNA samples from adults and juveniles convicted of certain non-criminal disorderly person offenses.
  • Sex Offender Banishment Ordinances
    Permits municipalities to enact ordinances preventing individuals convicted of certain sex offenses from living within 500 feet of a school, child-care center, or playground.
  • Campaign Contribution and Expenditure Disclosure
    Extends election expenditure reporting requirements to certain non-profit advocacy organizations.
  • Tuition Equality
    Makes undocumented students who studied for three or more years at and graduated from NJ high schools, or obtained GED, eligible for in-state tuition and financial aid at NJ state colleges and universities.
  • Transgender Birth Certificate Discrimination
    Creates standards for amending the sex of a person on a birth certificate and eliminates the sex reassignment surgery requirement.
  • Drone Regulation
    Creates strong privacy protections for New Jerseyans regarding law enforcement agencies’ use of drones for surveillance purposes.
  • Exposure of Birth Parent Identities to Adoptees
    Grants adoptees and certain other persons access to original birth documents.




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