- Fillmore County in 2013 began requiring that the Amish install septic systems to treat wastewater.
- They instead want to reuse water for irrigation or treat it through less sophisticated systems.
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Friday sided with an Amish community that is challenging on religious grounds a Minnesota county’s requirement that its members install septic systems to treat wastewater.
The high court overturned a state court ruling that had sided with the county and asked the state’s courts to review the case again in light of its recent ruling in favor of a Catholic foster care agency in Philadelphia that refused to screen same-sex couples.
Fillmore County in 2013 began requiring that the Swartzentruber Amish, who reject modern technology as part of their religion, install septic systems to treat the wastewater from laundry, bathing and cooking – known as gray water. The Amish instead want to reuse that water for irrigation or treat it through less sophisticated systems.
In an opinion concurring with the Supreme Court’s decision, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch said the state courts misread a federal law dealing with how such land use regulations may be applied to religious entities. It was the latest example of the Supreme Court siding with a claim of religious freedom in a contest with an asserted governmental interest.
“County officials have subjected the Amish to threats of reprisals and inspections of their homes and farms. They have…