On April 13, 2012, a number of Muslim Americans residing in Michigan filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Transportation Security ...
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On April 13, 2012, a number of Muslim Americans residing in Michigan filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Transportation Security Administration. The plaintiffs claimed that they have been subjected to invasive body searches, prolonged detentions, and religious questioning each time they cross the U.S.-Canada border, while never being provided with a reason for this treatment. Represented by the Council on American Islamic Relations, they asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that targeting and detaining Muslim Americans at the border to question them about their religious beliefs violates the First Amendment, as well as plaintiffs' Equal Protection rights, because people of other faiths are not similarly questioned.
On September 14, 2012, the federal government filed a motion to dismiss. On November 16, 2012, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding in the Department of Homeland Security as a defendant. Again, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint.
On June 11, 2013, Judge Avern Cohn bifurcated the claims against the official-capacity defendants from the claims against the individual-capacity defendants to handle them separately. Cherri v. Mueller, 12-11656, 2013 WL 2558154 (E.D. Mich. June 11, 2013). Judge Cohn then granted in part and denied in part the official-capacity defendants' motion to dismiss. He held that (1) the plaintiffs had standing to sue and the claims in the plaintiffs' first amended complaint were justiciable; (2) the plaintiffs had adequately pled the existence of an official policy, custom and practice; and (3) pursuant to that official policy, custom, and practice, the plaintiffs sufficiently stated a Fifth Amendment claim (Count IV). However, Judge Cohn held that the plaintiffs did not state a claim upon which relief can be granted under the First Amendment or the RFRA and therefore dismissed those counts. Cherri v. Mueller, 951 F. Supp. 2d 918 (E.D. Mich. 2013).
On June 17, 2013, the plaintiffs filed two additional amended complaints, one for the individual-capacity defendants and another for the official-capacity defendants. On August 14, 2013, the parties agreed to a stipulated order of dismissal of individual-capacity claims only.
As of June 16, 2014, the case is ongoing and currently in the discovery phase. Jessica Kincaid - 06/16/2014