Friday, November 15, 2013

Supreme Court In Unusual Move Gives Interim Relief On Grooming Rules To Muslim Prisoner

In an unusual order (full text) yesterday, the United States Supreme Court issued an injunction barring the Arkansas Department of Corrections from enforcing its grooming policy against Muslim inmate Gregory Holt "to the extent that it prohibits applicant from growing a one-half-inch beard in accordance with his religious beliefs."  The order entered in the case of Holt v. Hobbs, (Docket No. 13-6827) will terminate either when the Court denies Holt's petition for certiorari, or, if it grants the petition, when the Court enters its judgment. AP reports that Holt is serving a life sentence for domestic violence and burglary after he cut his girlfriend's throat and stabbed her. Holt, who also goes by his religious name of Abdul Maalik Muhammad, is appearing pro se.  He filed his handwritten application for an injunction while his cert. petition is pending with Justice Samuel Alito (who is assigned to receive such motions in 8th Circuit cases). Alito in turn referred the application to the entire court which issued yesterday's order. Here is the 8th Circuit's opinion upholding the prison system's grooming policy. [Thanks to How Appealing for the lead.]