Breaking: 9th Circuit upholds lower court ruling in McCollum v California

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  June 1, 2011 — 60 Comments

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has just published their ruling in the case of Patrick M. McCollum; et al., v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; et al. The decision upholds the district court ruling that McCollum doesn’t have standing to bring the case (an assertion that is rejected by McCollumAmericans Unitedthe ADL, and other groups).

“The district court properly dismissed and granted summaryjudgment in favor of the defendants on McCollum’s claimsbecause, for the most part, he lacked standing. As a prudential matter, we agree that the court need not exercise jurisdiction over these derivative claims. Although McCollum had standing to pursue his personal employment claims, and also constitutional claims for differential treatment as a volunteer chaplain and retaliation, ultimately he cannot prevail on those claims. We therefore affirm.”

This leaves McCollum’s team with two options, either start from scratch with a new case, or appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. After over five years of litigation, neither option is going to be cheap or easy.

This case centers on the State of California’s “five faiths” policy. This policy limits the hiring of paid chaplains to Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Native American adherents. The case itself has yet to be heard, as legal counsel for the CDCR has been (so far successfully) arguing that McCollum doesn’t have the standing to bring the case.  You can read up on my summary of the case, here.

Once I have a statement from McCollum and other parties I will post updates.

Jason Pitzl-Waters