Saturday, December 12, 2020

Court Refuses To Enjoin City's Holiday Display Policy

In Knights of Columbus Star of the Sea Council 7297 v. City of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, (D DE, Dec. 11, 2020), a Delaware federal district court refused to issue a preliminary injunction against the city's policy on religious displays at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand. Plaintiffs want to continue their past practice of erecting a creche on the site for the Christmas season. The city's policy, which allegedly at one time banned religious displays of all kinds, was revised while this litigation was pending so that it now prohibits only any unattended private display on city property. However it permits attended religious and secular displays. The court said in part:

[B]ecause the motion is directed to a policy that no longer exists (if it ever did) and there is no realistic chance the alleged unconstitutional conduct will be resumed before the Court can reach the merits of the case, the motion must be denied as moot. It is also unripe. The Knights is free to apply to display an attended creche, but it has not yet done so. Finally, ... even assuming Plaintiff has established a likelihood of success on the merits, the motion must be denied because Plaintiff has failed to show it will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary injunctive relief.