Wiccan case can proceed, court decides

Tallahassee, USA - The Supreme Court on Monday refused to let the Central Florida-based Liberty Counsel, a legal organization that specializes in religious-freedom cases, intervene in a Wiccan challenge to a tax exemption for Bibles, religious publications and ceremonial items.

The brief order offers no explanation, but The Wiccan Religious Cooperative of Florida argued in papers filed with the high court that interventions are not permitted once a case gets past the trial-court stage.

The Wiccans' lawyer, Heather Morcroft, cited court rulings dating back to 1908 to support her argument.

The Wiccans, described on their Web sites as "an earth-based belief system or religion," contend the exemption is unconstitutional in part because it allows the state to decide what is a religion.

They sued the state on Halloween 2000, but the 1st District Court of Appeal in a 2-1 opinion ruled that they lacked standing to challenge the tax law because they benefited from the exemption. That issue now is on appeal to the high court.