American Humanist Association, Inc. v Douglas County School District RE-1

Association and several parents appealed the order dismissing their establishment clause claims against District for lack of standing. The panel affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part. It held the district court erred in requiring parents to prove pervasive exposure as United States Supreme Court precedent only requires a trifle and here one parent proved she was directly contacted by email and through a flyer sent home with her child asking for participation in fundraising for a mission trip to Guatemala and she thus had standing to pursue her retrospective relief claim. It held that parent did not have standing to pursue prospective relief as the mission trip was a one off event, the principal at the school will not allow future fundraising with a religious component and the possibility her children will be exposed to religious fundraising in the future is speculative and thus not provably imminent. The panel affirmed as to the other parents as none of them received any contacts about the fundraising efforts and mere fear of possible future violations do not support standing and taxpayer standing was not proven here because whatever the correct standard to analyze municipal taxpayer standing the plaintiffs failed to prove municipal funds were spent only for the allegedly unconstitutional actions. It finally held the parent with constitutional standing to bring her establishment clause claim lacked standing to bring a claim under the Equal Access Act as state law excludes her son’s elementary school from the definition of covered secondary schools.

Ghailani v Sessions

Ghailani appealed the dismissal of his challenge to the special administrative measures against him and his petition for an injunction allowing him to engage in group prayer in prison. The panel affirmed in part and reversed in part. It held the appeal as to the measures was moot as the measures have expired, the government has stated it has no plans to reinstate them as the factors which led to their imposition no longer exist and this declaration was not done to moot the case and no evidence of current effects from the measures. It held the group prayer constitutional claim was correctly dismissed as Ghailani failed to plead a lack of reasonable relationship to legitimate penological interest, but the claim under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was wrongly dismissed as the burden of proving compelling government interest and least restrictive means. The case was remanded for further proceedings.