Thursday, March 22, 2012

Non-Liturgical Navy Chaplains Can Move Ahead On Some Claims, But No Reconsideration of Establishment Clause Ruling

In In re Navy Chaplaincy, (D DC, March 21, 2012), is another chapter in the long-running litigation by chaplains, endorsing agencies and churches claiming that the Navy discriminates against members of “non-liturgical” religions in its promotion, retention and separation  of chaplains. In this decision, the DC federal district court refused to amend its 2002 decision that plaintiffs had not shown that there was a violation of the Establishment Clause when the Navy allowed chaplains to rate other chaplains and permitted more than one chaplain to sit on a chaplain selection board. It also dismissed several other claims. However the court permitted plaintiffs to move ahead with various challenges to the Navy's chaplaincy accession, retention, promotion and selective early retirement process, as well as challenges to alleged prejudice in the disciplinary system. (See prior related posting.)