Friday, April 18, 2008

DC Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Navy Chaplain's RFRA Claim

In Klingenschmitt v. Winter, (DC Cir., April 14, 2008), the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt. After the Navy refused to accept a change of endorsing organizations for Klingenschmitt's chaplaincy, Klingenschmitt resigned. The court said that because the Navy's initiation of separation proceedings against Klingenschmitt was mandatory when he lost his original endorsement, the proceedings could not have been motivated by retaliatory animus. And since Klingenschmitt is no longer a chaplain, he lacks standing to seek injunctive or declaratory relief as to his complaint that Navy regulation of his religious expression was contrary to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. (See prior related posting.)