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CAIR, Friend Law File SCOTUS Amicus Brief Supporting Right to Bring Constitutional Claims in Federal Court

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/24/20) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, along with John Friend of Friend Law PSC today announced the filing of an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski.  

In that case, the court is determining whether civil rights claims can continue to go forward when there is no claim for prospective relief and the plaintiff is only seeking nominal (minimal) damages for a constitutional violation.  

CAIR and Friend’s amicus brief illustrates that absent allowing such claims to go forward, many religious freedom rights cannot be vindicated. Violations of religious freedom tend to allow only nominal damages, and there are often no claims for prospective relief available in those cases because of either the temporary nature of the violation, the transient nature of certain plaintiffs, or the voluntary cessation of the Defendants.  

SEE: CAIR’s Amicus Brief in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski

“CAIR vigorously supports the religious rights of detainees and incarcerated Muslims, who often cannot vindicate their rights in the short time they are held, whether it is by border agents or by the criminal justice system,” said CAIR Civil Rights Director Lena Masri.  

“Procedural gamesmanship and legal maneuvering should not prevent us from protecting the right to practice one’s faith. This right was, and remains, a crucial guarantee on which this country was founded,” added John Friend.  

“The very reason nominal damages claims exist at all is to vindicate Constitutional rights when other avenues for protecting those rights do not exist,” said CAIR Trial Attorney Justin Sadowsky. “If the Court wants to take the Constitution seriously, as we know it does, it must continue allow those claims to proceed.”   

“The majority of courts have supported nominal damages claims, and CAIR is cautiously optimistic the Supreme Court will side with the majority. While our institutions have faltered in securing the guarantees of the Constitution from time to time, we are confident that the Supreme Court will take this opportunity to reinforce this promise,” said CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas. 

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.   


CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 248-390-9784,; CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425,; CAIR Trial Attorney Justin Sadowsky, 646-785-9154,; John Friend, 502-542-2455, 

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