House-passed bill would discourage church-state suits

Legal fees for successful plaintiffs at issue
A bill passed by the House and a companion bill awaiting action in the Senate would remove money—at least the awarding of attorneys’ fees to successful plaintiffs— from cases related to public displays of religion.

The Public Expression of Religion Act, introduced by Indiana Republican John Hostettler, passed the House by a 244-173 vote September 26 after four failed attempts. A similar Senate bill has been introduced by Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas.

Supporters of the bills argue that the legislation would prevent the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations from using an existing section of civil rights law to earn large sums of money from lawyers’ fees.


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