A group of citizens in Murfreesboro, Tennessee have filed a petition for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court challenging the 2013 ruling by the Tennessee Court of Appeals that the Rutherford County Planning Commission did not violate Tennessee’s Open Meetings Act before approving May 2010 plans for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro to construct a mega-mosque. For a detailed history of this case, read our 2012 post here.
While we still need to digest the petition for certiorari before reporting back, we leave you with the petitioners’ preface to the questions on which they seek the Supreme Court’s review:
Periodic warning from the U.S. Department of Homeland security of locally generated terrorist attacks compel a review by this Court to resolve due process issues raising conflicts between the Religious Land Use And Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, et seq. (“RLUIPA”), and the public right to open government affirmed by the State Meetings Act. This case presents that conflict in a case acknowledged at all levels to be of great public interest, where there is a risk of terrorism officially and publicly identified in a prosecution by the U.S. Justice Department. On May 29, 2013, the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its Order, challenged herein, reversing the June 1, 2012 Order of the Tennessee Chancery Court (“Chancery Order”) declaring that the approval by the Respondents of a site plan for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (“ICM”) void for failure of adequate notice under the “Open Meetings Act of 1974” . . . .
The petitioners ask that the Supreme Court consider the following questions, among others:
Whether An Islamic Center Is Entitled To Protection By RLUIPA When They Officially And Publicly Promote, Sponsor and Condone Illegal Behavior Or Terrorists And Their Teachings And Activities?
Whether Notice Of A Proposed Meeting Agenda Of Pervasive Public Importance Required By The Chancery Order Is An “Equally Applied” Exception Or A “Substantial Burden” Prohibited By RLUIPA?
While we express no opinion as to the petitioners’ allegations that the ICM is engaged in illegal behavior or promotes or sponsors terrorists, this case is sure to spark even greater controversy than it has already. We will report back on this case once we fully analyze the petition.
In the meantime, the petition can be accessed here.