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The Boy Scouts of America Lose Another Appeal To The Court. This Time In San Diego, California

Subject: NEWS RELEASE: Court Rejects Department of Justice Attempt to Enter San Diego Boy Scout Lease Case
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 14:39:31 -0800


ACLU OF SAN DIEGO & IMPERIAL COUNTIES NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Contact: Dale Kelly Bankhead, 619.232.2121. ext 25

COURT REJECTS DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ATTEMPT TO ENTER SAN DIEGO BOY SCOUT LEASE CASE

(San Diego) The United States Department of Justice cannot join the Boy Scouts in opposing the ACLU's challenge to the constitutionality of subsidized leases for the San Diego Boy Scouts as a result of a ruling
issued March 16 by federal district court judge Napoleon Jones. The DOJ attempted to obtain amicus curiae -- friend of the court -- status in the case based on their interest in the outcome of the church/state issues involved.

Judge Jones said that the federal government's interests would not be affected by the outcome of this case and that it had no reason to be involved. "The U.S. Department of Justice attempted to join this case on behalf of the Boy Scouts, seeking to defend the use of taxpayer money to subsidize a self-described a religious organization that discriminates on the bases of religious non-belief and sexual orientation," says M. Andrew Woodmansee of the law firm of Morrison and Foerster, co-counsel with the ACLU in the litigation. "The government claimed to have an interest in protecting the Boy Scouts' position, but the interest of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division should be to eliminate the very types of discrimination practiced by the Scouts. We are pleased by
the court's decision." The Desert Pacific Council of the Boy Scouts receives subsidized leases from the City of San Diego for virtually free use of city park land in Balboa Park and on Fiesta Island.

In July 2003, Judge Jones ruled that the Balboa Park lease violated constitutional principles of separation of church and state and put the Fiesta Island lease over for trial. The Balboa Park ruling was largely based on the
Scouts' own assertion that they are a private religious organization which the government is constitutionally prohibited from subsidizing. The City of San Diego settled with the ACLU earlier this year based on Judge
Jones' 2003 ruling. Judge Jones will be hearing further motions in this case on April 5, 2004. The case is Barnes-Wallace v. San Diego, case # 00cv1726J.

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