Lawyers on both sides of a Missouri church-and-state case were set to argue Wednesday before the U.S. Supreme Court, despite debate about whether Gov. Eric Greitens’ announcement that religious organizations should be allowed to apply for state resources had rendered the case moot.
The court is scheduled to hear arguments on a case that began about recycled rubber but has morphed into a constitutional debate about whether state money can be used to aid religious organizations.
Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia applied for a state grant to get recycled rubber to resurface a playground.
The state’s Department of Natural Resources under previous Gov. Jay Nixon denied the church’s application. The church sued, and the resultant legal arguments hinge on the constitutionality of the “Blaine Amendment” in place in Missouri and 37 other states that bars state resources from going to religious groups.
Meanwhile, the entire Missouri attorney general’s office on Tuesday recused itself from the case.
In a statement, the office said recusal is now important to preserve the Attorney General’s ability to vigorously defend Greitens’ policy.