More cases involving the exercise of religious liberties are making it to the courtroom. Law enforcement and security are being tested. In a recent case presented to the US Supreme Court, failing to hear a case, effectively allows the case to proceed.
The US Supreme Court will allow a Muslim woman to sue California jail deputies. The Court refused to hear an appeal from Orange County over whether or not a lawsuit should be allowed to proceed. As a result of not hearing the case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision stands. That Court had ruled that a lawsuit against the county and its deputies could proceed.
Souhair Khatib, was detained in November 2006, after a Judge had revoked her probation for a misdemeanor welfare-fraud conviction. When she was brought to jail, male deputies ordered her to remove her head scarf while she was held in a jail/holding cell for several hours. Under her Muslim beliefs, it is part of her religious practice not to remove her hijab (scarf) in public. Here, against her religous beliefs, she was forced to do so.
The 9th Circuit’s Appellate ruling had overturned previous dismissals of her lawsuit. The other court rulings had dismissed her case under the legal theory that a holding cell, in a Courthouse, is not covered by federal law that protects the religious practices of prisoners.
Under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, prisoners are allowed to wear religious garments as long as they do not pose security risks. The deputies acted, based on the fact that they did not think that this Federal law applied to them. Plus, there was never an assertion that this lady was a security risk.
One final note. I am always interested in the application of State versus Federal Law. No matter the religious beliefs of a person; cases like this can have a long lasting impact for everyone. I know that this blog is very legal intensive. Sometimes, it really is a legal blog!!!
Now…… pic o’ day! A bit less serious but still pretty “cool”.