Monday, May 18, 2009

Banning Martial Arts in Prison Does Not Violate the First Amendment or the Establishment Clause

For all of the martial arts fans out there, in Marsh v. Florida Department of Corrections (08-12222) the Eleventh Circuit held it is not a violation of the First Amendment or the Establishment Clause to ban martial arts in prison. In the lower court, the appellant argued:

In his amended complaint, Marsh alleges that FCCC’s policy prohibiting the practice of martial arts infringes upon his First Amendment right to freely exercise his Zen Buddhist religion. He explains that he practices Nisei GoJu-Ryu Karate, a form of martial arts that is practiced by Zen Buddhists as a form of spiritual enlightenment. Marsh’s complaint also alleges that FCCC staff members had retaliated against him because of earlier civil rights complaints which he had filed.
The Eleventh Circuit rejected the arguments and affirmed the district court's order.


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