Judge for Kroger case expected to give religious liberty a 'fair hearing'

Thursday, September 24, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Freedom of Religion buttonA Trump appointee will be the judge presiding over a religious liberty case in Arkansas involving the Kroger Company.

OneNewsNow has confirmed with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas that Judge Lee Rudofsky has been assigned the case. He took that judicial seat in November 2019 after being nominated by President Donald Trump four months earlier.

"By all accounts, Judge Rudofsky should give the case a fair hearing," says David Cox of Arkansas-based Family Council. "He's widely regarded as someone who is fair and is going to give religious liberty a fair hearing, but it's going to be an interesting one to watch just to see how this plays out with a relatively new Trump appointee on the court."

As reported Wednesday by OneNewsNow, 72-year-old Brenda Lawson and 57-year-old Trudy Rickerd filed a federal lawsuit against Kroger, saying they were fired from a store in Conway, Arkansas, for not wanting to wear aprons displaying a heart-shaped, rainbow-colored symbol. Lawson and Rickerd say that is a symbol of the LGBTQ community and therefore did not comport with their Christian beliefs about marriage and homosexuality.

The lawsuit against Kroger was filed September 14. The complaint was filed earlier this month by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

"Most people are aware that Title VII protects against discrimination on the basis of race and color and sex and national origin," says EEOC general counsel Sharon Fast Gustafson, "but I think people are less aware that Title VII protects employees and applicants from discrimination in employment on the basis of religion."

Kroger did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Before he was appointed to the U.S. District Court, Rudofsky served three years as solicitor general of Arkansas. According to his questionnaire requested by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, he is a longtime member of the Federalist Society and has worked on campaigns for GOP candidates John McCain (President – 2008), Mitt Romney (President – 2012), and Tom Cotton (Senate – 2014).

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