Friday, May 02, 2014

Chaplain's Complaint Over Actions During Government Shutdown Dismissed As Moot

In Leonard v. United States Department of Defense, (D DC, April 30, 2014), the D.C. federal district court dismissed as moot claims by Catholic Navy chaplain Father Ray Leonard that his free exercise and RFRA rights were infringed when military authorities prevented him from performing his ecclesiastical duties during last year's government shutdown. The government asserted that this was required by the Anti-Deficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. § 1342, even if performed voluntarily. However, one day after this suit was filed, the government informed Father Leonard that he and other chaplains would be permitted to continue working during the shutdown and would be paid when funds later became available. The court similarly dismissed Leonard' retaliation claim because he is suffering no ongoing injury. (See prior related posting.)

4 comments:

waw3runner said...
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waw3runner said...

Fr. Leonard is actually a contracted provider of Catholic religious services; he is not a uniformed Navy Chaplain. See for example http://www.courthousenews.com/2014/05/01/67528.htm for more on the distinction and the unfortunate confusion arising from the court's inaccurate use of terms.

wildvortex said...

What difference does it make if he is an American citizen and accesses the base as any other visitor?

The popular high school ROTC program in Bakersfield has been defunded.

Best we be aware of the broad undermining of our nation - including its military - and veterans.

waw3runner said...

The difference it makes in this and numerous other stories about this particular individual is that no uniformed chaplains were prevented from performing their duties during the shutdown. Contractors across the government, including contracted providers of religious ministry, were not permitted to volunteer their services in lieu of payment or incur a future obligation for the government to pay them. This is really just a story about contract law and the government shutdown, but the plaintiff tried to turn it into a religious liberty claim.