JACKSON, MISS– Governor Phil Bryant has submitted an appeal against U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves’ block on the Religious Accommodations Act, or HB 1523, according to court documents filed Thursday.
The memorandum filed on Thursday called the analysis of the establishment clause to of the First Amendment mistaken:
“It is perfectly acceptable for the government to choose the conscientious scruples that it will protect and accommodate, while withholding those protections and accommodations from other deeply held reliefs.”
The memorandum also stated that there was no proof that HB 1523 would impose harm on third parties, since no injury was proven.
One of the lawsuits Judge Reeves reviewed during his analysis of the legislation was blocked because imminent threat could not be proven.
The documents also requested that while the appeal was in the works, the injunction against the legislation should be lifted, which would allow the law to go into effect until a decision could be made.
HB 1523 was blocked on June 30, and the following morning, Governor Bryant released this statement:
“Like I said when I signed House Bill 1523, the law simply provides religious accommodations granted by many other states and federal law,” said Governor Bryant. “I am disappointed Judge Reeves did not recognize that reality. I look forward to an aggressive appeal.”
However, Attorney General Jim Hood said he was unsure of an appeal, given the budget situation the state has had to discuss for the upcoming fiscal year.
“In consideration of the individual rights of all our citizens, the state’s current budget crisis and the cost of appeal, I will have to think long and hard about spending taxpayer money to appeal the case against me. An appeal could cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Attorney General Hood. “For example, North Carolina has set aside $500,000 for defense of its bathroom law. Even if we won and the injunction were set aside on appeal, the case would be remanded and proceed to trial over about two years. Because of the huge tax breaks handed out to big corporations by these same leaders, the state is throwing mentally ill patients out on the street. This is hardly protecting the least among us as Jesus directed.”
Here is the court document: