September 26, 2012
Food Fight: Oral Arguments in Prison Kosher Case Set to Begin
Texas Prison System One of Few Remaining Holdouts Restricting Access to Kosher Meals
For Immediate Release: September 27, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC – A heated legal fight over Jewish prisoners’ access to kosher food will be heard when the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit hears oral argument Monday, October 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the law firm Latham & Watkins LLP are representing Max Moussazadeh, an observant Jew in the Texas prison system. They will argue that the restriction violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).
Although thirty-five states and the federal government provide Jewish inmates with a kosher diet, Texas has refused to provide a kosher diet to Moussazadeh, despite the minimal cost, which is less than 0.02% of its annual food budget. There is mounting evidence that efforts to accommodate prisoners’ religious beliefs reduce violence and recidivism.
WHAT: Oral arguments begin in Moussazadeh v. Texas Department of Criminal Justice
WHO: Anne Robinson of Latham & Watkins LLP will argue for Moussazadeh, before Fifth Circuit judges Carolyn Dineen King, Jerry E. Smith, and Rhesa H. Barksdale
WHEN: Monday, October 1, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: Room 223 of the John Minor Wisdom United States Court of Appeals Building, 600 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. The Becket Fund has a 17-year history of defending religious liberty for people of all faiths. Its attorneys are recognized as experts in the field of church-state law, and they recently won a 9-0 victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, which The Wall Street Journal called one of “the most important religious liberty cases in a half century.”