(Denver, Colo., Aug. 1, 2016)—In its reply brief filed today in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center argues that the families on whose behalf the lawsuit was filed have standing to challenge Establishment Clause violations by the Douglas County School District in Highlands Ranch, Colo.
The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center filed a complaint on behalf of local families against the school district in October 2014, after repeated warnings to school district officials that they were unconstitutionally promoting Christianity through participation in religious programs such as Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s Adventures in Missions™ and Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian organization founded by Rev. Franklin Graham. In February 2016, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center announced that it would appeal the lawsuit to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, after the district court ruled that none of the families had standing to challenge the violations.
On appeal, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center defends the standing of the local families, who have been directly affected by these practices and marginalized by the school district’s promotion of Christianity. According to the brief, in ruling that the local families did not have the right to bring the suit, the lower court misapplied standing law. The brief also asserts that Douglas County School District’s brief provides no legal basis for upholding the district court’s decision.
Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.