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Chris Christie

Archdiocese of Newark sues New Jersey over headstone law

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A public interest law firm has filed a federal case on behalf of the archdiocese of Newark challenging a New Jersey law that bars church-run cemeteries from selling headstones.

"This case addresses one of the most important unanswered questions in constitutional law: how far government power can act for primarily private gain," said Jeff Rowe, senior attorney for the Institute of Justice.

New Jersey to Newark archdiocese: Get out of the headstone business

The Newark archdiocese, the largest single provider of in-ground burials in New Jersey, must give up a lucrative companion business -- the marketing of headstones and private crypts -- under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Chris Christie.

The measure, which passed both houses of the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, goes into effect in one year, allowing the archdiocese time to wind down without imperiling sales in progress at its Catholic cemeteries.

Christie's vaccine statements aside, N.J. already allows parents to refuse on religious grounds

Gov. Chris Christie created a stir during a trade trip to London this week when he defended parents' right to decide whether their children should get mandated vaccines -- remarks that a spokesman quickly clarified by saying the governor "believes vaccines are an important public health protection."

Back home in New Jersey, where Christie's health commissioner has been a vocal advocate for vaccinations, parents already have the right to make those decisions if they put in writing that accepting vaccines violates their religious beliefs.

Gov. Christie, Cardinal George: in the spotlight

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The top executives of two major U.S. institutions have been in the news this month reacting to serious problems occurring under their jurisdiction. Both have felt public pressure, and both have reacted in ways that are interesting both in their similarities and differences. The two are Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, and Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago.

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