Scott Pilutik

I am an attorney and consultant living and working in Manhattan, focusing primarily on church/state constitutional law. I'm a recognized expert on the Church of Scientology organization. I also have strong interests in intellectual property law where it intersects with emerging media, and free speech.

I support the efforts of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU, Creative Commons, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I am a member of the New York County Lawyers Association and the New York State Bar Association. I also enjoy (watching) hockey and (doing) photograhy.

Online I can be found on Facebook, Twitter. My resume can be viewed here. I can be reached by phone at 212.645.6241 or by e-mail at pilutik[at]

Scientology’s new anti-picketing ordinance in Riverside County

On January 6, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, on behalf of the Church of Scientology, will vote on an ordinance that would criminalize certain tartgeted picketing of residences. The ordinance is similar to one proposed and which failed to gain the necessary support only weeks ago.

As Eugene Volokh pointed out, Riverside’s original oridinance [...]

Former CIO sues Diskeeper claims he was fired for not participating in Scientology training

[Update: mirrored, and probably more reliable links for complaint and motion to strike. Ray Hill kindly mirrored the documents here, as well. ]

Alexander Godelman and Marc Le Shay, two Diskeeper employees (Godelman was CIO and Le Shay hired as the Automation Planning Officer) have filed a complaint in the Los Angeles Superior Court alleging [...]

Sklar II Disappoints

The following was posted on the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, but I’ll post here as well.

The Ninth Circuit finally, after 10 months, published its opinion in Sklar v. Commissioner, and I’m sad to say it disappoints. I wrote about the oral arguments in this case back in May, trying to read the tea leaves as to [...]

Legislative Prayer, Charles Lynch, and Civil Religion

Within the myriad universe of contentious church-state issues, most of which did not become contentious until the 20th century, legislative prayer stands apart, its origins tracing to the First Congress, as the Supreme Court pointed out in Marsh v. Chambers (463 U.S. 783). In that 1983 case, the Supreme Court ruled that the prayer preceding [...]

roe v. wha?

We’ve had advance notice for the last few days that in the Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric, Palin was unable to name another Supreme Court case besides Roe v. Wade. Troubling, yes, but it unfortunately eclipsed a more troubling answer, which occurred when Couric asked Palin if she thought there was a “right to [...]

Intelligent Design evolves into Academic Freedom

The Louisiana legislature passed an insidious bill that, according to NewScientist, seeks to “bestow on teachers the right to introduce non-scientific alternatives to evolution under the banner of ‘academic freedom.‘” While I’m not surprised that the Louisiana legislature is that stupid, the vote itself jarred me: it passed 94-3.

The passed bill, named the [...]

The Cock Crows for John Freshwater

A fairly disturbing church/state issue has been fermenting in a Columbus Ohio grade school, where a popular eighth-grade science teacher John Freshwater has been systematically injecting his religious views and discarding the science curriculum he was hired by the state to teach. Story here. This much isn’t especially odd, as it probably goes on everywhere [...]

disco-boat owning church accuses san diego discrimination

I’m suddenly unpressed for time, so I think I’ll turn my interbrowsing into something productive by doling out stories with accompanying thoughts, if thoughts occur. First, let’s visit Chula Vista, San Diego, where the San Diego taxpayers are about to eat $313k (see here for great article by Tanya Mannes of the San Diego Union-Tribune), [...]

Will Sklar II crack open Scientology’s Secret Agreement with the IRS?

In the early 1990s, Michael and Marla Sklar deducted part of their children’s school tuition from their income tax in an amount equal to the proportion they viewed their tuition going toward religious instruction, as opposed to secular teaching (e.g., math, english). He listed his deductions under section 170 of the Tax Code, which permits [...]

are non-profits finally being scrutinized?

Judges and congress are (finally) becoming skeptical of non-profits, according to the NY Times, which cites a Minnesota State Supreme Court case from December (Under the Rainbow Child Care Ctr., Inc. v. County of Goodhue, 741 N.W.2d 880 (Minn. 2007)), which held that a nonprofit day care agency here had to pay property taxes because [...]