Government Moves to Dismiss MRFF Lawsuit

In a fairly well written argument, the government has filed a motion to dismiss the ongoing lawsuit against the Defense Department brought by Army Specialist Jeremy Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  (The response was due, and filed, on the 8th.)  Salient points are below (emphasis added), though many were previously already talked about here.

The short version: he failed to use the systems in place to seek redress; the solutions he requests are already in place; and he does not allege harm by any “institutional bias” for which the only support is a list of vague references.

On the request that Secretary of Defense Gates be required to prevent Constitutional violations by his military subordinates:

Secretary Gates already exercises his authority to prevent constitutional violations through the Army’s existing Equal Opportunity Program — which Specialist Hall failed to invoke…

Regarding the “injury” that the Plaintiffs would like redressed: 

Plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the purported “pattern and practice” of impermissible support of religion within the Department of Defense because they fail to establish that Specialist Hall — or anyone else — has been personally injured by those alleged practices.

On his failure to use the in-place systems, a precedent: 

Specialist Hall’s claims are barred under the Mindes doctrine because he failed to exhaust his intramilitary remedies.

Referring to the history of the courts’ reluctance to review military processes: 

[J]udicial review would significantly interfere with military operations and intrude on sensitive disciplinary and personnel matters committed to military expertise.

On the addition to the suit that alleged he had been denied promotion:

[L]ike the plaintiff in Gonzalez, Specialist Hall remains eligible for promotion, and future promotion decisions can be challenged via intramilitary channels. In fact, the decision at issue [his alleged denial of promotion] here is still reviewable by the [Board for Corrections of Military Records]. 

Amusingly, the government addressed the co-plaintiff (the MRFF) only once, when they dismissed them out of hand–in a footnote:

The [MRFF] has no greater standing than does Specialist Hall. MRFF asserts no injury to itself as an organization; rather, its standing is premised on injuries allegedly suffered by the only one of its members it identifies in the Complaint: Specialist Hall. As such, MRFF could have associational standing only if, among other requirements, Specialist Hall “would otherwise have standing to sue in [his] own right.”

As noted, CNN recently re-highlighted the case.