1st Circuit: Establishment clause challenge to HHS contract with Bishops is moot

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts v. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, (1st Cir., Jan. 15, 2013), the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals remanded with instructions to dismiss as moot a suit brought in 2009 alleging that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services violated the Establishment Clause when it contracted with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to provide services under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The appeals court held that the expiration of the contract with USCCB rendered the challenge moot, rejecting the district court’s conclusion that the case fell under the “voluntary cessation” exception to the mootness doctrine. The 1st Circuit also held that the exception for conduct “capable of repetition, yet evading review” does not apply. [Thanks to Alliance Alert for the lead.]