Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jones v. Butz case brief

Jones v. Butz case brief
374 F.Supp. 1284

CASE SYNOPSIS: Plaintiffs, a guardian and related individuals and organizations, brought an action against defendants, Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, Acting Administrator of Consumer and Market Services of the Department of Agriculture, and a rabbi, challenging, under the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment, the Humane Slaughter Act, 7 U.S.C.S. § 1901 et seq. Plaintiffs and defendants sought summary judgment.

FACTS: Plaintiffs challenged, under the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Humane Slaughter Act, in particular the provisions relating to ritual slaughter as defined in the Act, which plaintiffs suggested involved the government in the dietary preferences of a particular religious group. Representatives of that religious group were permitted to intervene. The court held that: (1) despite defendants' contention to the contrary, plaintiffs had standing to bring the action; (2) plaintiffs had failed to convince the court that they had suffered a deprivation of rights under the First Amendment; (3) there were three tests to determine whether a law violated the Establishment Clause, the statute had to have a secular legislative purpose, its principal or primary effect had to be one that neither advanced nor inhibited religion, and it could not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion; (4) the sections of the Act under attack did not violate the tests; and (5) plaintiffs failed to demonstrate any coercive effect of the Act with respect to their religious practices.

CONCLUSION: The court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissed the complaint with prejudice. The court denied plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment.

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