June 23rd, 2017
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
Barber v. Bryant
Dockets: 16-60477 , 16-60478
Opinion Date: June 22, 2017
Judge: Jerry E. Smith
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law
Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the constitutionality of a Mississippi statute, HB 1523, asserting that the state government disapproves of and is hostile to same-sex couples, to unmarried people who engage in sexual relations, and to transgender people. HB 1523 provides that the state government shall not take any discriminatory action against persons who act in accordance with certain beliefs in an enumerated set of circumstances. The district court issued a preliminary injunction against the implementation of HB 1523. The Fifth Circuit reversed the preliminary injunction and rendered a judgment of dismissal for want of jurisdiction, holding that plaintiffs did not have standing. In regard to Establishment Clause injury, the court held that the religious display cases did not provide a basis for standing to challenge the endorsement of beliefs that exist only in the text of a statute. Furthermore, neither the religious exercise cases generally, nor Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000), provide support for plaintiffs' standing. In the alternative, plaintiffs have failed to show an injury in fact. The court also held that plaintiffs did not have taxpayer standing to challenge HB 1523 and the Barber plaintiffs did not have standing under the Equal Protection Clause.
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