Saladin v. City of Milledgeville, Civ. A. No. 83-187-1-MAC.

Decision Date21 March 1986
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 83-187-1-MAC.
Citation630 F. Supp. 344
PartiesKenneth SALADIN, et al., Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF MILLEDGEVILLE, Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — Middle District of Georgia

Ralph S. Goldberg, Atlanta, Ga., for plaintiffs.

Charles A. Mathis, Jr., Milledgeville, Ga., for defendant.

ORDER

OWENS, Chief Judge.

Attached to this order as Exhibit A is a sheet of the defendant City of Milledgeville's official stationery on which the controverted city seal is printed. Embossed thereon is the controverted city seal as used to authenticate documents. See affidavit of Martha Miller, City Clerk, March 19, 1986. The word Christianity is unquestionably illegible—unreadable, impossible to read, obscured, hard to make out—on both the printed and embossed seals.

In response to this court's order of February 20, 1986, the defendant City of Milledgeville has agreed to confine and limit the future use of its city seal to the authentication of documents and printing of official stationery. The defendant's city seal containing the word Christianity in legible form—readable, easily read, plain, visible—will no longer be used on the city water tank, the doors of city vehicles, employee uniform patches, or for any other purpose. The agreement of the defendant City to cease such uses of its seal removes from this case the question of and the controversy over whether or not the City of Milledgeville was violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States by using a city seal containing the word Christianity in legible form.

Article III of the Constitution of the United States limits the "judicial power" of the United States—this court's jurisdiction, power, and authority to act—to the resolution of "cases" and "controversies." Matters that are resolved or that have come to an end during litigation in a United States court, cease to be part of the "case" or "controversy" and become moot—unless such matters are "capable of repetition, yet evading review." See Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S.Ct. 705, 35 L.E.2d 147 (1973).

The plaintiffs do not even suggest that this court's failure to resolve the question of whether or not the former uses of the city seal are in violation of the Establishment Clause, will afford the City of Milledgeville the opportunity to again use its seal in such form and for such purposes and to evade review by this court of such use. Instead the plaintiffs, for a multitude of irrelevant, emotional reasons, simply want this court to decide whether or not the City's past but never to be repeated conduct was violative of their constitutional rights. As the Supreme Court of the United States said in Ashcroft v. Mattis, 431 U.S. 171, 173, 97 S.Ct. 1739, 1740, 52 L.E.2d 219, 222 (1977), "Emotional involvement in a lawsuit is not enough to meet the case-or-controversy requirement; were the rule otherwise, few cases could ever become moot." The emotional involvement of these plaintiffs in this lawsuit is likewise not enough...

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1 cases
  • Saladin v. City of Milledgeville
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • 17 March 1987
    ...Judge: This is an appeal from the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant-appellee City of Milledgeville, 630 F.Supp. 344 (MD Ga.1986). The district court dismissed the plaintiffs-appellants' constitutional challenge to the City's official seal as a violation of......

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