University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name ACLU of Mass v. Leavitt FA-MA-0001
Docket / Court 1:05-cv-11000-JLT ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Case Summary
This case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts on May 16, 2005 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the Department of Health and Human Services. The plaintiff claimed that the department's provision of more than a million dollars of public ... read more >
This case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts on May 16, 2005 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the Department of Health and Human Services. The plaintiff claimed that the department's provision of more than a million dollars of public funds to a ministry called "The Silver Ring Thing" (SRT) that uses federal abstinence education funding to bring "unchurched" students to Jesus Christ constituted an unlawful establishment of religion and a governmental endorsement and preference for religion in general and specific tenets of the ministry in particular.

The ministry developed a three hour presentation that was meant to occur directly following a mandatory abstinence education assembly in public schools and which, according to the plaintiff, was "permeated with religion."

In a two-year settlement agreement entered on February 22, 2006, the defendants acknowleged that they had terminated the SRT grant effective January 31, 2006. The agreement provided that defendants would not fund SRT's abstinence eduction as it had been structured and implemented during the fiscal year 2005, that strict requirements would be made before considering funding any future proposals from SRT, and that extensive monitoring of SRT's activities would occur if SRT was given a grant.

Denise Heberle - 08/07/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
None on record
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) US Department of Health and Human Services
Plaintiff Description ACLU of Massachusetts, on behalf of their tax-paying members who allege that federal money being used to fund 'inherently religious activities' is in violation of the Establishment Clause.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2006
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:05-cv-11000-JLT (D. Mass.) 03/06/2006
FA-MA-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 05/16/2005
FA-MA-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Settlement Agreement 02/22/2006
FA-MA-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Stipulation of Dismissal 02/23/2006
FA-MA-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Judges Tauro, Joseph Louis (D. Mass.)
FA-MA-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chandrasekhar, Charua A. (New York)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0003
Corbin, Caroline Mala (New York)
FA-MA-0001-0002 | FA-MA-0001-9000
Cowie, Craig (District of Columbia)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0003 | FA-MA-0001-9000
Eisenberg, Avlana Kinnert (District of Columbia)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0003 | FA-MA-0001-9000
Freeman, Jared O. (District of Columbia)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0003
Jueds, Victoria Howard (District of Columbia)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0002 | FA-MA-0001-0003 | FA-MA-0001-9000
Mach, Daniel (District of Columbia)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0002 | FA-MA-0001-0003 | FA-MA-0001-9000
Pulham, Thomas (District of Columbia)
FA-MA-0001-0002 | FA-MA-0001-9000
Sternberg, Julie (New York)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0002 | FA-MA-0001-0003 | FA-MA-0001-9000
Tillipman, Jessica (District of Columbia)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0002 | FA-MA-0001-0003 | FA-MA-0001-9000
Wunsch, Sarah (Massachusetts)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0002 | FA-MA-0001-0003 | FA-MA-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Coppolino, Anthony J. (District of Columbia)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0003 | FA-MA-0001-9000
Keisler, Peter D. (District of Columbia)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0003
Kilroy, Robert L. (Massachusetts)
FA-MA-0001-9000
Lieber, Sheila M. (District of Columbia)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0003
Oster, Joel L. (Kansas)
FA-MA-0001-0003 | FA-MA-0001-9000
Sullivan, Michael J (Massachusetts)
FA-MA-0001-0001 | FA-MA-0001-0003
Theriot, Kevin H. (Kansas)
FA-MA-0001-0003 | FA-MA-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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