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Friday, December 04, 2009

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides establishment clause case today

In Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Ass'n. v. Clarke (ED Wis.), a 14-page opinion, Judge Williams writes:

When the Milwaukee County Sheriff invited a religious group to speak at the Sheriff’s department leadership conference, some officers took offense to the Christian-focused presentation. And when the Sheriff allowed the same group to speak at a number of mandatory employee meetings, the officers complained. When the presentations continued, two Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputies, along with their union, sued under 18 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a violation of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. The district court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on their Establishment Clause claim, and the defendants appealed. Because the group’s presentations during mandatory employee gatherings gave, at the least, the appearance of endorsement by the Sheriff’s Department, we conclude that the defendants violated the Establishment Clause. Therefore, we affirm.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 4, 2009 10:50 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions