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Evangelical Navy Chaplains Denied Promotions Win Legal Round

(UPDATED) D.C. appeals court reverses dismissal of lawsuit alleging religious bias in promotions.

Update (Mar. 1): The D.C. district court has denied a preliminary injunction to non-liturgical Protestant Navy chaplains in their lawsuit alleging discrimination and favoritism in promotions for Catholic and liturgical Protestant chaplains.


In February 2012, a D.C. district court denied a preliminary injunction to a group of non-liturgical Protestant military chaplains challenging the promotion process for U.S. Navy chaplains. Now, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed that ruling and sent the lawsuit back to the lower court to be reconsidered.

In the case, the chaplains allege that the Navy Chaplain Corps systematically discriminates against members of their religious denominations when awarding of promotions. They argue that the process favors Catholic and liturgical Protestant chaplains–a bias that would violate the Establishment Clause.

The appeals court agreed, ruling that "at least those plaintiffs whose promotions will likely be considered ...

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