Constitutional Law

Do officials in adjacent towns put religion above the law? DOJ case asks jury to decide

Colorado City

Colorado City, Utah. Image from Shutterstock.

Opening statements are expected to begin Wednesday in the trial of a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against two adjacent border towns accused of violating the civil rights of residents by putting religion above the law.

Filed in 2012 against Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, the Phoenix, Arizona, case contends municipal leaders favor fellow members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The splinter religious group left the mainstream Mormon Church after it outlawed polygamy more than a century ago.

Lawyers for the towns say the feds are overreacting and insist the municipalities follow the law, reports the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). Attorney Jeffrey Matura, who represents Colorado City, calls the case “an effort of the government to try and eradicate a religion that it finds distasteful.”

The DOJ declined to comment.

Earlier Associated Press and Salt Lake Tribune stories provide more details about the case.

See also:

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