Adair v. England, No. CIV.A.00-0566(RMU), CIV.A.99-2945(RMU).

CourtUnited States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
Writing for the CourtUrbina
Citation217 F.Supp.2d 1
Docket NumberNo. CIV.A.00-0566(RMU), CIV.A.99-2945(RMU).
Decision Date31 July 2002
PartiesRobert H. ADAIR et al., Plaintiffs, v. Gordon R. ENGLAND, Secretary of the Navy, et al., Defendants. Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches et al., Plaintiffs, v. Gordon R. England, Secretary of the Navy, et al., Defendants.

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217 F.Supp.2d 1
Robert H. ADAIR et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Gordon R. ENGLAND, Secretary of the Navy, et al., Defendants.
Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Gordon R. England, Secretary of the Navy, et al., Defendants.
No. CIV.A.00-0566(RMU), CIV.A.99-2945(RMU).
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
July 31, 2002.

Arthur A. Schulcz, Sr., Vienna, VA, for plaintiffs.

Thomas E. Caballero, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, DC, for defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

URBINA, District Judge.


DENYING THE PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION TO DELAY THE NAVY'S CHAPLAIN PROMOTION BOARDS UNTIL AFTER THE COURT RULES ON THE PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THOSE BOARDS

I. INTRODUCTION

These cases come before the court on the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction to delay the Navy's chaplain promotion boards until after the court rules on the plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment on the constitutionality of

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those boards.1 The plaintiffs, current and former Navy chaplains and an ecclesiastical endorsing agency for military chaplains, bring these suits alleging that the Navy's policies and practices favor one religion over another in violation of the First Amendment's Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses, and in violation of the Fifth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. Specifically, the plaintiffs charge that the hiring, retention, and promotion policies of the Navy Chaplain Corps demonstrate an unconstitutional endorsement of liturgical Christian sects over non-liturgical Christian sects.2 For the reasons that follow, the court denies the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction.

II. BACKGROUND

Although the above-captioned cases are not consolidated for all purposes, they have been consolidated for purposes of all pretrial pending motions.3 In the Chaplaincy case, the plaintiffs are an endorsing agency for military chaplains and seven of its individual members. In the Adair case, the plaintiffs are 17 current and former non-liturgical chaplains in the Department of the Navy ("the defendants," "Navy," or "DON"). In both cases, the plaintiffs allege that the Navy has established and maintained an unconstitutional religious quota system for promotion, assignments, and retention of Navy chaplains, in violation of both the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that the Navy's policies and practices favor liturgical Christian chaplains over non-liturgical Christian chaplains.4

On January 10, 2002, the court issued a Memorandum Opinion granting in part and denying in part the defendants' motion to dismiss. Adair v. England, 183 F.Supp.2d 31 (D.D.C.2002). The court held: that strict scrutiny applies to the plaintiffs' First Amendment and equal protection claims; that the plaintiffs did not need to exhaust their administrative remedies before filing suit in federal court; that the plaintiffs had stated a claim that the Navy's hiring and retention policies violate the Establishment Clause; that the Navy's practices of allowing chaplains to rate other chaplains for promotions and of allowing multiple chaplains to serve on promotion boards do not violate the Establishment Clause; that the plaintiffs had stated a claim that the Navy's practice of displaying the religious identity of chaplains up for promotion violates the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause; that the Navy's practice of having only "General

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Protestant" religious services could violate the Establishment Clause; and that the plaintiffs had stated a free speech claim. Id.

On January 4, 2002, the plaintiffs filed their third motion for injunctive relief in the above-captioned cases.5 The plaintiffs sought to delay the convening of the Navy's chaplain promotion boards for fiscal year ("FY") 2003 that were scheduled to begin on February 4, 2002. In short, the plaintiffs challenged the legality of chaplain promotion boards on a number of grounds. On February 1, 2002, the court denied the plaintiffs' motion. Because the plaintiffs cannot demonstrate irreparable harm, they do not meet the high standard for the issuance of a preliminary injunction.

III. ANALYSIS
A. Legal Standard for Injunctive Relief

This court may issue a preliminary injunction only when the movant demonstrates:

(1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, (2) that it would suffer irreparable injury if the injunction is not granted, (3) that an injunction would not substantially injure other interested parties, and (4) that the public interest would be furthered by the injunction.

Mova Pharm. Corp. v. Shalala, 140 F.3d 1060, 1066 (D.C.Cir.1998) (quoting City Fed Fin. Corp. v. Office of Thrift Supervision, 58 F.3d 738, 746 (D.C.Cir.1995)); see also World Duty Free Americas, Inc. v. Summers, 94 F.Supp.2d 61, 64 (D.D.C.2000). The district court must balance the strengths of the moving party's arguments on each of the four factors. CityFed Fin. Corp., 58 F.3d at 747. "These factors interrelate on a sliding scale and must be balanced against each other."6 Davenport v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 166 F.3d 356, 360-61 (D.C.Cir.1999) (citing Serono Labs., Inc. v. Shalala, 158 F.3d 1313, 1318 (D.C.Cir.1998)).7

In addition, a particularly strong showing on one factor may compensate for a

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weak showing on one or more of the other factors. Serono Labs., Inc., 158 F.3d at 1318. "An injunction may be justified, for example, where there is a particularly strong likelihood of success on the merits even if there is a relatively slight showing of irreparable injury." CityFed Fin. Corp., 58 F.3d at 747. If the plaintiff makes a particularly weak showing on one factor, however, the other factors may not be enough to compensate. Taylor v. Resolution Trust Corp., 56 F.3d 1497, 1507

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(D.C.Cir.1995), amended on other grounds on reh'g, 66 F.3d 1226 (D.C.Cir.1995).

It is particularly important for the movant to demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success on the merits. Cf. Benten v. Kessler, 505 U.S. 1084, 1085, 112 S.Ct. 2929, 120 L.Ed.2d 926 (1992) (per curiam). Indeed, absent a "substantial indication" of likely success on the merits, "there would be no justification for the court's intrusion into the ordinary processes of administration and judicial review." Am. Bankers Ass'n v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 38 F.Supp.2d 114, 140 (D.D.C. 1999) (internal quotation omitted).

Moreover, the other salient factor in the injunctive-relief analysis is irreparable injury. A movant must "demonstrate at least `some injury'" to warrant the granting of an injunction. CityFed Fin. Corp., 58 F.3d at 747 (quotation omitted). Indeed, if a party makes no showing of irreparable injury, the court may deny the motion for injunctive relief without considering the other factors. Id.

Finally, because preliminary injunctions are extraordinary forms of judicial relief, courts should grant them sparingly. Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972, 117 S.Ct. 1865, 138 L.Ed.2d 162 (1997). As the Supreme Court has said, "[i]t frequently is observed that a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion." Id. (citation omitted). Although the trial court has the discretion to issue or deny a preliminary injunction, it is not a form of relief granted lightly. Ambach v. Bell, 686 F.2d 974, 979 (D.C.Cir. 1982). In addition, any injunction that the court issues must be carefully circumscribed and tailored to remedy the harm shown. Nat'l Treasury Employees Union v. Yeutter, 918 F.2d 968, 977 (D.C.Cir. 1990) (citation omitted).

B. The Plaintiffs Fail to Show Irreparable Harm

The plaintiffs advance several arguments as to why the chaplain promotion boards are illegal. In its January 10, 2002 Memorandum Opinion, however, the court dismissed for failure to state a claim each of the plaintiffs' challenges to the constitutionality of the chaplain promotion boards except for the claim that a chaplain's religious affiliation should not be identified to a chaplain promotion board. Adair, 183...

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18 practice notes
  • Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches v. England, No. 05-5143.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 7 Julio 2006
    ...F.Supp.2d 7 (D.D.C.2002); Adair v. England, 209 F.R.D. 5 (D.D.C.2002); Adair v. England, 209 F.R.D. 1 (D.D.C.2002); Adair v. England, 217 F.Supp.2d 1 (D.D.C.2002); Adair v. England, 193 F.Supp.2d 196 (D.D.C. 2002); Adair, 183 F.Supp.2d at 31; see also Mem. Op. at 2 (describing the case's &q......
  • In re Navy Chaplaincy, Misc. Action No. 07-0269. (RMU).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 15 Octubre 2007
    ...must show "clearly" that she is entitled to relief or that extreme or very serious damage will result. Adair v. England, 217 F.Supp.2d 1, 3 n. 6 (D.D.C.2002); Veitch v. Danzig, 135 F.Supp.2d 32, 35 (D.D.C.2001); see also Stanley v. Univ. of S. Cal., 13 F.3d 1313, 1319 (9th Cir.199......
  • Allina Health Serv. v. Sebelius, Civil Action No. 10–1463 (RMC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 22 Diciembre 2010
    ...In re Navy Chaplaincy, 516 F.Supp.2d 119, 123 (D.D.C.2007), Veitch v. Danzig, 135 F.Supp.2d 32, 35 (D.D.C.2001), Adair v. England, 217 F.Supp.2d 1, 3 n. 6 (D.D.C.2002). The D.C. Circuit has yet to adopt or reject a heightened burden for mandatory injunctions. See Columbia Hosp. for Women Fo......
  • National Conference On Ministry v. James, Civil Action No. 03-1741(RBW).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 27 Agosto 2003
    ...no justification for the court's intrusion into the ordinary processes of administration and judicial review.'" Adair v. England, 217 F.Supp.2d 1, 4 (D.D.C.2002) (citations omitted). For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that plaintiff has failed to satisfy this (a) Plai......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches v. England, No. 05-5143.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 7 Julio 2006
    ...F.Supp.2d 7 (D.D.C.2002); Adair v. England, 209 F.R.D. 5 (D.D.C.2002); Adair v. England, 209 F.R.D. 1 (D.D.C.2002); Adair v. England, 217 F.Supp.2d 1 (D.D.C.2002); Adair v. England, 193 F.Supp.2d 196 (D.D.C. 2002); Adair, 183 F.Supp.2d at 31; see also Mem. Op. at 2 (describing the case's "w......
  • In re Navy Chaplaincy, Misc. Action No. 07-0269. (RMU).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 15 Octubre 2007
    ...the movant must show "clearly" that she is entitled to relief or that extreme or very serious damage will result. Adair v. England, 217 F.Supp.2d 1, 3 n. 6 (D.D.C.2002); Veitch v. Danzig, 135 F.Supp.2d 32, 35 (D.D.C.2001); see also Stanley v. Univ. of S. Cal., 13 F.3d 1313, 1319 (9th Cir.19......
  • Allina Health Serv. v. Sebelius, Civil Action No. 10–1463 (RMC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 22 Diciembre 2010
    ...In re Navy Chaplaincy, 516 F.Supp.2d 119, 123 (D.D.C.2007), Veitch v. Danzig, 135 F.Supp.2d 32, 35 (D.D.C.2001), Adair v. England, 217 F.Supp.2d 1, 3 n. 6 (D.D.C.2002). The D.C. Circuit has yet to adopt or reject a heightened burden for mandatory injunctions. See Columbia Hosp. for Women Fo......
  • National Conference On Ministry v. James, Civil Action No. 03-1741(RBW).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 27 Agosto 2003
    ...be no justification for the court's intrusion into the ordinary processes of administration and judicial review.'" Adair v. England, 217 F.Supp.2d 1, 4 (D.D.C.2002) (citations omitted). For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that plaintiff has failed to satisfy this (a) Plaint......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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