Friday, April 16, 2021

Jewish Sailor Gets Temporary Reprieve From Order To Shave Beard

Suit was filed yesterday in the D.C. federal district court by a Jewish sailor who was ordered to shave his beard which he maintains for religious reasons. Other plaintiffs in the case are Muslim sailors.  The complaint (full text) in Di Liscia v. Austin, (D DC, filed 4/15/2021), alleges in part:

1. Plaintiff Edmund Di Liscia, a devout Chassidic Jew and a Sailor in the United States Navy with a rating as an Electricians Mate, Nuclear Power 3rd Class Petty Officer (EMN3), seeks emergency relief to stop Defendants from forcing him to shave in violation of his sincerely held religious beliefs.

2. Over two years ago, shortly after joining the Navy, EMN3 Di Liscia received a “no-shave chit” permitting him to maintain his beard as a religious accommodation for his faith. That accommodation remained effective during his current deployment aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. Indeed, throughout the deployment, his fellow Sailors aboard the USS Roosevelt have all received MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) no-shave chits that allow them to shave only once every fourteen days.

3. But on or around April 14, 2021, EMN3 Di Liscia’s chief informed him that he must shave on the morning of April 16, 2021, and regularly thereafter....

Plaintiff moved for a TRO (memo in support of TRO). The military agreed that it would not require Di Liscia to shave, at least for the time being. The court issued a temporary restraining order (full text) barring the military from requiring him to shave or trim his beard. reports on the case.