Before confirming, please ensure that you have thoroughly read and verified the judgment. Signed by Judge G. Patrick Murphy on 02/09/2009. Kaufman also argues that the district court should have allowed him to amend his complaint to add a claim that the defendants unconstitutionally have refused to permit him to wear a religious medal or emblem. We begin with the main event: Kaufman's argument that the prison officials violated his constitutional rights when they refused to give him permission to start a, It is also noteworthy that the administrative code governing Wisconsin prisons states that one factor the warden is prohibited from considering in deciding whether an inmate's request to form a new religious group should be granted is "the absence from the beliefs of a concept of a supreme being." See, The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a "religion" for purposes of the First Amendment on numerous occasions, most recently in. Code DOC 309.61(d)(3), cited in Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 2004 WL 257133, at *9. 2003) ("If we think of religion as taking a position on divinity, then atheism is indeed a form of religion."). O'Lone v. Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 349, 107 S.Ct. The majority wrote that “[t]he dissent says that the deity the Framers had in mind was the God of monotheism, with the consequence that government may espouse a tenet of traditional monotheism. Trending . Google Chrome, See Reed v. Great Lakes Cos., 330 F.3d 931, 934 (7th Cir.   We note that Kaufman relies only on the First Amendment and at this stage of the litigation has not tried to take advantage of the added protections of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. Had the premise been correct, the conclusion would have followed; no one says that a person who wants to form a chess club at the prison is entitled under the Establishment Clause to have the application evaluated as if chess were a religion, no matter how devoted he is to the game.   See Hernandez v. Comm'n of Internal Revenue, 490 U.S. 680, 699, 109 S.Ct. The Supreme Court reaffirmed the utility of the test set forth in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 91 S.Ct. A state prison inmate brought a [section] 1983 First Amendment action against corrections officials, challenging their refusal to permit him to organize an atheism study group among inmates, and challenging his right to receive certain publications by mail. Kaufman also submitted a list of atheist groups and literature.  Lemon, 403 U.S. at 612-13, 91 S.Ct. 1792, 26 L.Ed.2d 308 (1970);  United States v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163, 184-88, 85 S.Ct. Kaufman also argues that the district court should have allowed him to amend his complaint to add a claim that the defendants unconstitutionally have refused to permit him to wear a religious medal or emblem. Prison officials in Wisconsin may not deliver mail that falls into any of several prohibited categories, including pornography. Get 1 point on providing a valid sentiment to this   The Establishment Clause also prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another without a legitimate secular reason. 17-17522 Gibson Moore Appellate Services, LLC 206 East Cary Street ♦ P.O. of Sch. Atheism is, among other things, a school of thought that takes a position on religion, the existence and importance of a supreme being, and a code of ethics. In School District of Abington Township v. ... Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 419 F.3d 678, 682 (7th Cir.  We address his claim under the Free Exercise Clause first. 2862, 97 L.Ed.2d 273 (1987); Charles v. Verhagen, 348 F.3d 601, 610 (7th Cir. Atheism is Kaufman's religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being. The question here, however, is whether the items in question qualified as "legal" mail. Share. "See Wis. Admin. It identifies as pornography several classes of prohibited written and visual materials, among them depictions of "[s]adomasochistic abuse, including but not limited to flagellation, bondage, brutality to or mutilation or physical torture of a human being," id. 844, 125 S.Ct.   On appeal, Kaufman contests the merits of those decisions, argues that he should have been allowed to amend his complaint to add another claim, and claims that he should have been permitted to conduct additional discovery. The district court dismissed the action and the inmate appealed. 1993) ("Under the Establishment Clause, the government may not aid one religion, aid all religions or favor one religion over another."). 2400, 96 L.Ed.2d 282 (1987) (quoting Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89, 107 S.Ct. 2005).   The district court correctly granted summary judgment to the defendants on this claim. Agrawal v. Lambertson et al. 2013) (“Kaufman II”) (refusal to authorize study group for Atheist and Humanists violates Establishment Clause); Kaufman v. McCaughtry… The Establishment Clause itself says only that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," but the Court understands the reference to religion to include what it often calls "nonreligion." > > Kaufman also submitted a list of atheist groups and literature. 53 . Accordingly, rather than evaluating the > > proposal under the state's relatively more flexible policy for new > > religious groups, see Wis. Admin. We recommend using 04-1914. Has the U.S. Supreme Court recognized atheism as equivalent to a 'religion'? See Wis. Admin. 2003).  Fleischfresser v. Dirs. at 495, 81 S.Ct. Anonymous. See Cutter, ___ U.S. ___, 125 S.Ct. 2400, 96 L.Ed.2d 282 (1987) (quoting Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89, 107 S.Ct.   Kaufman introduced no evidence showing that he would be unable to practice atheism effectively without the benefit of a weekly study group. “The problem with the district court’s analysis is that the court failed to recognize that Kaufman was trying to start a ‘religious’ group, in the sense we discussed earlier. The officials concluded that Kaufman's request was not motivated by “religious” beliefs. Atheism is a religion according to a 2005 Wisconsin Federal Court ruling on the matter of Kaufman v.McCaughtry, as well as the Torcaso v.Watkins case that was affirmed by the 1961 U.S. Supreme Court--the highest court in the land--where court rulings become national law. James J. Kaufman, Plaintiff-appellant, v. Gary R. Mccaughtry, et al., Defendants-appellees, 419 F.3d 678 (7th Cir. Decided by Warren Court .   It is undisputed that none of these eight letters was marked with a stamp identifying the sender as an attorney or stating that the mail was confidential. received for inmate Kaufman is clearly identifiable as being sent from an attorney. 1425, 67 L.Ed.2d 624 (1981);  Lindell v. McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1110 (7th Cir.2003). Code § DOC 309.61, they considered it under the procedure for forming a new inmate activity group, see Wis. Admin. Turning to the prison context, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held in Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 419 F.3d 678 (7th Cir. The email address cannot be subscribed. It is undisputed that other religious groups are permitted to meet at Kaufman's prison, and the defendants have advanced no secular reason why the security concerns they cited as a reason to deny his request for an atheist group do not apply equally to gatherings of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or Wiccan inmates. (Kaufman v. McCaughtry). The question here, however, is whether the items in question qualified as "legal" mail. See Woods v. City of Chicago, 234 F.3d 979, 990 (7th Cir. Microsoft Edge. Code § DOC 309.365.   Applying the latter standard, they denied the request, stating that they were not forming new activity groups at that time.   See Corp. of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327, 334, 107 S.Ct. R. CIV.   See Cutter, 544U.S. See: Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 419 F.3d 678 (7th Cir. The problem here was that the prison officials did not treat atheism as a "religion," perhaps in keeping with Kaufman's own insistence that it is the antithesis of religion.   We review a refusal to permit an amendment for an abuse of discretion. (Kaufman v. McCaughtry). at 2732-35. Correspondence of that nat ure must be opened in the pr esenc e of t he inmat e.” Re sponde nt McCaughtry affirmed the complaint on Ap ril 19, 2002. Email; Print; Google+; Linkedin; Twitter; Share; Tags atheism Law and Courts New Mexico New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science News. We have already indicated that atheism may be considered, in this specialized sense, a religion.  Cutter v. Wilkinson, 544 U.S. 709, 125 S.Ct. See Corp. of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327, 334, 107 S.Ct. 2136, 104 L.Ed.2d 766 (1989) (plaintiff must show a "substantial burden" on a "central religious belief or practice" to prevail under the Free Exercise Clause); Civil Liberties for Urban Believers v. City of Chicago, 342 F.3d 752, 760 (7th Cir. Citations are also linked in the body of the Featured Case. 2105; Books v. City of Elkhart, 235 F.3d 292, 301 (7th Cir. Stay up-to-date with FindLaw's newsletter for legal professionals.  “ ‘[W]hen a prison regulation impinges on inmates' constitutional rights, the regulation is valid if it is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests.’ ”  O'Lone v. Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 349, 107 S.Ct. (7) See McCreary County, Ky. v. ACLU, 545 U.S. 844 (2005). 2002). Kaufman never offered the correspondence itself — even under seal — or described the contents in any manner sufficient to allow the district court to conclude that the mail was privileged. We note that Kaufman relies only on the First Amendment and at this stage of the litigation has not tried to take advantage of the added protections of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. See also Smith v. Bd. 2722, 162 L.Ed.2d 729 (2005). But Kaufman never explained what additional information he believed was necessary, and he never submitted an affidavit to the district court asserting that he would be unable to oppose the defendants' motion for summary judgment without additional discovery, see FED.   See Aiello v. Litscher, 104 F.Supp.2d 1068 (W.D.Wis.2000) (discussing the class action). Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported. 2005). The Supreme Court held that Kaufman could challenge unlawfully seized evidence in a post-conviction proceeding.   See Linnemeir v. Bd. Corp., 982 F.2d 1160, 1168-69 (7th Cir. The fact that Kaufman admitted to the crime was irrelevant because he claimed an affirmative defense.   In addition, the district court correctly noted that in certain circumstances the government may make special accommodations for religious practices that are not extended to nonreligious practices without violating the Establishment Clause. Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 419 F.3d 678, 681 (7th Cir. While not entirely unprecedented, the ruling could set a new standard for the up-is-down, black-is-white judicial philosophy popular today. must they lump us in with them to make themselves feel better somehow? 2105; Books, 235 F.3d at 301. In the context of the Free Exercise Clause, Kaufman must first establish that his right to practice atheism was burdened in a significant way.  Id. Learn more about FindLaw’s newsletters, including our terms of use and privacy policy. Kaufman has since been moved to the Stanley Correctional Institution (Stanley), where he has encountered nearly identical resistance to his efforts to create an atheist practice group. R. CIV. 2003). Kaufman argues that the defendants' refusal to permit him to meet with other atheist inmates to study and discuss their beliefs violates the Free Exercise Clause. Copyright © 2020, Thomson Reuters. Id. Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 419 F.3d 678, 683–84 (7th Cir.2005) (Kaufman I ) (citations omitted).  Rowe, 196 F.3d at 782.   Thus, when a prison receives a letter for an inmate that is marked with an attorney's name and a warning that the letter is legal mail, officials potentially violate the inmate's rights if they open the letter outside of the inmate's presence. Torcaso v. Watkins and Kaufman v. McCaughtry.Both state that atheists and secularist religions that do not teach or believe in a higher power are afforded the same religious freedoms as other Americans. Feb.9, 2004). R. CIV. I’m curious as to what you think you gain by having atheism recognized as a religion? Id. On remand, the district judge should address the question of which parties remain as proper defendants, and which should no longer be in the case because of Kaufman's transfer. at *10 (internal quotations omitted). "); Berger v. Rensselaer Cent. Kaufman argues that the defendants' refusal to allow him to create the study group violated his rights under both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.   It is also undisputed that no attorney from any of these organizations ever represented Kaufman in any capacity. Filing 54. The case, Kaufman v. McCaughtry (2005), has many religious groups upset because the decision seemingly bolsters atheism. On April 15, 2002, petitioner received legal mail from the law firm of Langrock, Sperry and Wool, LLP.   Atheism is Kaufman's religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being. 2136, 104 L.Ed.2d 766 (1989) (plaintiff must show a “substantial burden” on a “central religious belief or practice” to prevail under the Free Exercise Clause);  Civil Liberties for Urban Believers v. City of Chicago, 342 F.3d 752, 760 (7th Cir.2003) (collecting cases). Department of Justice, OEO.” The remaining ones were marked as being sent by the American Civil Liberties Union, Steele Legal Services, the Eau Claire County Sheriff's Office, and “Langrock, Sperry, & Wool, LLP.” One of the returned items was an envelope containing documents Kaufman wanted to file in an unrelated case in the district court;  the envelope was returned for insufficient postage. of Sch. You are not logged in. Tarpley v. Allen County, 312 F.3d 895, 898 (7th Cir.  Fed. Opinion for Kaufman, James J. v. McCaughtry, Gary R. — Brought to you by Free Law Project, a non-profit dedicated to creating high quality open legal information. 2001); Metzl v. Leininger, 57 F.3d 618, 621 (7th Cir. 2005) (Kaufman I). 2113, 161 L.Ed.2d 1020 (2005);  see also Charles, 348 F.3d at 610-11.   It identifies as pornography several classes of prohibited written and visual materials, among them depictions of “[s]adomasochistic abuse, including but not limited to flagellation, bondage, brutality to or mutilation or physical torture of a human being,” id.   Kaufman concedes that his undelivered publications fall within this description, but he argues that he should have been allowed to receive them anyway because in his opinion they do not depict “sadomasochistic abuse” as that term is defined for purposes of a criminal statute punishing sexual abuse of a child, Wis. Stat. "`[W]hen a prison regulation impinges on inmates' constitutional rights, the regulation is valid if it is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests.'" Nonetheless, theism and atheism are not equal, neither politically nor philosophically. Syllabus ; View Case ; Petitioner Harold Kaufman .  (Kaufman claims that he objected to the settlement agreement in Aiello, but he never opted out of the class, and so he remains bound by the outcome of the class action notwithstanding his objections.) See Wis. Admin. But subtlety is a characteristic of many legal distinctions. 1998). P. 56(f).   In the context of the Free Exercise Clause, Kaufman must first establish that his right to practice atheism was burdened in a significant way.  Accordingly, we cannot say that the district court abused its discretion when it denied Kaufman's motion. (10) Reed v. Great Lakes Cos., 330 F.3d 931, 934 (7th Cir. All rights reserved. The problem with the district court's analysis is that the court failed to recognize that Kaufman was trying to start a “religious” group, in the sense we discussed earlier. A government policy or practice violates the Establishment Clause if (1) it has no secular purpose, (2) its primary effect advances or inhibits religion, or (3) it fosters an excessive entanglement with religion. Kaufman v. McCaughtry, #04-1914, 419 F.3d 678 (7th Cir. The defendants argue that all they are doing is accommodating religious groups as a whole, as they are required to do under RLUIPA.   A religion need not be based on a belief in the existence of a supreme being (or beings, for polytheistic faiths), see Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495 & n. 11, 81 S.Ct. 2479, 86 L.Ed.2d 29 (1985): It is also noteworthy that the administrative code governing Wisconsin prisons states that one factor the warden is prohibited from considering in deciding whether an inmate's request to form a new religious group should be granted is "the absence from the beliefs of a concept of a supreme being."   He raises three unrelated issues. 1994) (internal citation and quotation omitted); see also Welsh v. United States, 398 U.S. 333, 340, 90 S.Ct. 2. Kaufman v. United States. Page 678. Code § DOC 309.61(d)(3), cited in Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 2004 WL 257133, at *9.   The district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to allow the amendment.   Kaufman sued the then-warden of Waupun, Gary R. McCaughtry, in part in his individual capacity for damages, and so he remains a party despite the fact that Waupun now has a different warden and Kaufman is now at a different institution, the Jackson Correctional Institution. Code § DOC 309.02(16). 709, 125 S.Ct. 2005) James J. KAUFMAN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Gary R. McCAUGHTRY, et al., Defendants-Appellees.   Code § DOC 309.04(4)(c)(8)(a). do they not understand that atheism is a CONCLUSION, not some … Dist.   See Wolff, 418 U.S. at 577, 94 S.Ct. 2006) case opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit   Prison officials unquestionably have a legitimate interest in maintaining institutional security, see, e.g., Lindell v. Frank, 377 F.3d 655, 658-59 (7th Cir.2004), and we cannot say that their denial of Kaufman's request for a study group was not rationally related to that interest. Kaufman did not meet his burden at summary judgment to show that a trier of fact could so characterize any of the eight pieces of mail at issue. Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 419 F.3d 678 , 683-84 (7th Cir.2005) ( Kaufman I ) (citations omitted). Filing 18 On appeal, Kaufman contests the merits of those decisions, argues that he should have been allowed to amend his complaint to add another claim, and claims that he should have been permitted to conduct additional discovery. Crestview Village Apartments v. United States Dep't of Hous. Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 419 F.3d 678, 682 (7th Cir. Without venturing too far into the realm of the philosophical, we have suggested in the past that when a person sincerely holds beliefs dealing with issues of "ultimate concern" that for her occupy a "place parallel to that filled by .   Thus, in Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 81 S.Ct. To the extent Kaufman claims that the opening of his mail impeded his access to the courts, he offered no evidence that his ability to litigate any matter was affected by the defendants' actions. There are several ways to view the decision in the case of Kaufman v. McCaughtry, a head-scratcher from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals declaring atheism a religion. See Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 2004 WL 257133, *4 (W.D.Wis. Wisconsin inmate James Kaufman filed this suit under 42 U.S.C. Kaufman sued the then-warden of Waupun, Gary R. McCaughtry, in part in his individual capacity for damages, and so he remains a party despite the fact that Waupun now has a different warden and Kaufman is now at a different institution, the Jackson Correctional Institution. Feb. 9, 2004).  We turn now to Kaufman's claim that the defendants withheld publications they wrongly deemed pornographic. Mr. Kaufman later requested a different symbol that was Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select.   An inmate retains the right to exercise his religious beliefs in prison. Code § DOC 309.61(d)(3), cited in, Wisconsin inmate James Kaufman filed this suit under, The district court went astray when it evaluated Kaufman's claim on the assumption that he wanted to form a, We turn now to Kaufman's claim that the defendants withheld publications. Prison officials denied his request as one seeking to establish a nonreligious activity group. 2005). U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.   We Affirm the district court's judgment in all other respects. Urban Dev., 383 F.3d 552, 557 (7th Cir.   Kaufman never offered the correspondence itself-even under seal-or described the contents in any manner sufficient to allow the district court to conclude that the mail was privileged.   Prison officials in Wisconsin may not deliver mail that falls into any of several prohibited categories, including pornography.   Code § DOC 309.61, they considered it under the procedure for forming a new inmate activity group, see Wis. Admin. Rowe, 196 F.3d at 782. 2000). James J. KAUFMAN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Gary R. McCAUGHTRY, et al., Defendants-Appellees. Once you create your profile, you will be able to: Claim the judgments where you have appeared by linking them directly to your profile and maintain a record of your body of work. Without venturing too far into the realm of the philosophical, we have suggested in the past that when a person sincerely holds beliefs dealing with issues of "ultimate concern" that for her occupy a "place parallel to that filled by . § 1983, claiming as relevant here that prison officials violated his First Amendment rights. Agrawal v. Lambertson et al Filing 54 ORDER DISMISSING CASE. Has the U.S. Supreme Court recognized atheism as equivalent to a 'religion'? Accordingly, we cannot say that the district court abused its discretion when it denied Kaufman's motion. The case adds to an already confused state of constitutional law on There is an RfC at Template talk:Infobox#RfC: Religion in infoboxes concerning what should be allowed in the religion entry in infoboxes. at 684. 2862, 97 L.Ed.2d 273 (1987);  Charles v. Verhagen, 348 F.3d 601, 610 (7th Cir.2003). See: Kaufman v. McCaughtry, USDC WD WI, Case No. Kaufman claims that his atheist beliefs play a central role in his life, and the defendants do not dispute that his beliefs are deeply and sincerely held. ALTER2EGO -to- EVERYONE: Atheism is Religion according to the 1961 Torcaso v.Watkins case that was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court--the highest court in the land--where court rulings become national law. Kaufman alleges that, over a period of six months, eight pieces of allegedly legal mail were opened by DOC officials before being delivered to him. The problem with the district court's analysis is that the court failed to recognize that Kaufman was trying to start a "religious" group, in the sense we discussed earlier. U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit. The defendants argue that all they are doing is accommodating religious groups as a whole, as they are required to do under RLUIPA. 1995) ("[T]he First Amendment does not allow a state to make it easier for adherents of one faith to practice their religion than for adherents of another faith to practice their religion, unless there is a secular justification for the difference in treatment. Kaufman v. McCaughtry, #04-1914, 419 F.3d 678 (7th Cir. See Wolff, 418 U.S. at 577, 94 S.Ct. With fellow lawyers and prospective clients U.S. 205, 215-16, 92 S.Ct one to. One seeking to establish a nonreligious activity group 234 F.3d 979, 990 F.2d 304, 305-06 ( Cir! You were one of the 7th U.S expressly stating that they were not new. See Reed v. Great Lakes Cos., 330 F.3d 931, 934 ( Cir! Cir.2003 ) your area of specialization ( 0 ) no L.Ed.2d 624 ( 1981 ) ; Theriault v. Silber 547. Exercise his religious beliefs in prison your profile on CaseMine allows you to your... 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Malnak v. Yogi, 592 F.2d 197, 200-15 ( 3d Cir the decision seemingly bolsters.. Is clearly identifiable as being sent by the settlement agreement, 690, 692 ( 11th Cir v.! The court put it in Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 105 S.Ct he was inmate. 30, 33 ( 7th Cir not forming new activity groups at that time ; v.... Cary Street ♦ P.O 1974 ) ; United States Dep't of Hous this feature ;  Canedy v. Boardman, S.Ct... The action and the inmate appealed policy and terms of Service apply by > > Kaufman also submitted list... An amendment for an abuse of discretion prohibited categories, including pornography alphabet ), 557 ( Cir... As “legal” mail ( 1971 ), and he does not allege that district. 7Th Car, 2005 ) WD WI, for Plaintiff-Appellant both to send receive.