Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Court Rejects Establishment Clause Challenge To Seizure of Funds

In Midamar Corp. v. United States, (ND IA, Nov. 19, 2012), an Iowa federal district court denied a motion by a company that is a leading supplier of Halal food to order release of $454,000 seized by the government from the company's bank account.  According to the Washington Post, the government is suggesting that the company improperly branded and sold meat products as meeting Muslim dietary requirements when that was not the case.  Rejecting the company's motion, the court said in part:
Next, Midamar argues that the court must quash the warrant because, according to Midamar, the government presumably intends to seek an indictment charging Midamar with fraud, and any fraud charges would require the court to define Halal, a religious term without an agreed-upon meaning, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.  The court finds that such argument is unavailing.  Midamar cites no  authority in support of its contention that this is an appropriate basis to quash a warrant.  Moreover, such an argument is premature.  The government has not filed any charges against Midamar and, consequently, the court is without jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of any potential fraud charges.