Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Summary Judgment Denied To Plaintiffs Challenging Refusal of High School Tournament To Accommodate Sabbath Observance

In Chung v. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, (WD WA, May 10, 2021), five current and former high school students sued the state's Interscholastic Activities Association for failing to accommodate Seventh Day Adventists' Sabbath observance in scheduling and administering the high school state tennis championships. The court refused to grant plaintiffs' summary judgment on any of their claims. It found that four of the plaintiffs lacked standing since they had not yet reached the state championship tournament. As to the remaining plaintiff who had standing, the court held that material issues of fact remain on the question of whether her federal free exercise claim is subject to strict scrutiny. Analyzing her state free exercise claim, the court held that plaintiff failed to demonstrate a substantial burden on her religious exercise since she was merely denied the right to participate in post-season play in the sport of her choice.