Wednesday, July 13, 2022

5th Circuit: Policy Change Did Not Moot Prisoner's Suit Seeking Congregate Services For NOGE

In Tucker v. Gaddis, (5th Cir., July 11, 2022), the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals held that a suit by Texas prison inmates seeking to hold religious gatherings for Nation of Gods and Earths adherents is not moot. The court, in a per curiam opinion, said in part:

The State now says that it has promulgated a new policy to govern congregation requests on behalf of the Nation’s adherents. As a result, the State contends that this suit is now moot.

We disagree. The new policy merely allows Tucker to apply for a congregation. It does not in fact allow the Nation to congregate. To the contrary, any such requests remain subject to “time, space, and safety concerns.” And to date, Texas has never permitted the Nation’s adherents to congregate. Nor is there any indication that Texas will allow them to do so anytime soon. So this case is not moot.

 Judges King and Ho each filed a concurring opinion.