State Capitol Briefs

State Capitol Briefs

The News Service of Florida



Arguing that prisoners’ rights have been violated, the U.S. Department of Justice this week filed a

federal lawsuit aimed at forcing the Florida Department of Corrections to make available kosher

meals. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday  (Aug. 15, 2012) in Miami, says Florida abandoned serving kosher

meals in prisons in 2007, except for a pilot program at the South Florida Reception Center. “FDC’s

(the Florida Department of Corrections’) denial of kosher meals substantially burdens the religious

exercise of prisoners desiring to keep kosher, as consuming a kosher diet is a fundamental tenet of

Judaism and other religions practiced by FDC prisoners,” the lawsuit says. Before 2007, the lawsuit

says prisoners who wanted to keep kosher could be sent to 13 prisons. It says an average of 250

prisoners a day took part in the kosher program. The lawsuit lists 13 prisoners who want kosher

meals but are unable to get them at a variety of prison facilities.



Federal appellate judges this week ordered a lower court to plunge back into a dispute about whether a Ten Commandments statue outside the Dixie County courthouse is unconstitutional. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said a lower court needs to hold a hearing about whether the plaintiff in the case had the proper legal standing to challenge the statue. In an order issued Wednesday, the appeals court said the plaintiff, identified only as John Doe, primarily lives in North Carolina and has a winter home in Levy County, which is next to Dixie County. The plaintiff does not own property in Dixie County, though he was “shocked” by the statue while visiting the courthouse to check out records about a possible property purchase, according to the order. The appellate judges said a lower court needs to determine whether that is a sufficient interest to be the plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. “Doe is not a resident of the county, nor does he have any legal or business obligations that would require him to visit the county,” the order said. “His sole source of potential injury in this case springs from his interest in possibly buying land in the county. Doe contends that the offensiveness of the statue has imposed a burden on him to avoid the county courthouse and to abandon his property search in the county; he alleges that this burden is tantamount to an injury.” The statue, which was approved by the Dixie County Commission, was donated and built in 2006 by a private citizen. A federal judge in Gainesville last year said it should be removed, finding that the county was sending “an unmistakable message that it supports and promotes the religious message that appears on it.”



U.S. Rep. and Florida U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack has landed a speaking spot at the Republican National Convention in Tampa later this month. Mack, who easily won a GOP primary on Tuesday and will face incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in November, was one of several speakers announced this week for the convention, which starts Aug. 27. In addition to Mack, the RNC on Thursday announced U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., former Democratic Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama, Ohio U.S. Sen. Bob Portman, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell also got speaking engagements.

About Carma Henry 22108 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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