The politically correct catering to Muslims has reached ridiculous proportions so it is good to finally see even a minor road block in the headlong rush to appease Muslims.
The U.S. Supreme Court said Tuesday that a Muslim inmate cannot sue the government over the disappearance of the prisoner's copies of the Quran and a prayer rug.
Abdus-Shahid M.S. Ali says the missing books and rug reflect widespread harassment against Muslim inmates in federal, state and local prisons stemming from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. (Ali is serving a sentence of 20 years to life in prison for committing first-degree murder in the District of Columbia.)
Besides the two copies of the Quran and the prayer rug, Ali is missing stamps and other personal items worth $177 that he says never showed up after his transfer from a federal penitentiary in Atlanta to Big Sandy penitentiary at Inez, Ky., in 2003. He said the last time he saw the now-missing items was when he turned them over to a prison supervisor in Atlanta.
Under the Federal Tort Claims Act lawsuits against the government over goods detained by customs and excise officers or "any other law enforcement officer” are blocked. The issue in the case was whether federal prison guards are immune from suit under the law. Two lower federal courts said Ali cannot sue because prison officials are law enforcement officers.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Ali had no case and the law suit should be thrown out. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for a majority that cut across ideological grounds, agreed with the lower courts. Thomas said the law "forecloses lawsuits against the United States for the unlawful detention of property by 'any,' not just 'some,' law enforcement officers". Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and, surprisingly, Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Thomas. The dissenters were Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter and John Paul Stevens.
Justice Kennedy, often the 'swing vote', spoke for the dissenters: "The seizure of property by an officer raises serious concerns for the liberty of our people and the act should not be read to permit appropriation of property without a remedy". Once again, Kennedy showed he cannot be relied upon to make the correct decision in cases before the court; no conservative is he.
In his federal law suit, Ali said "Reports from all over the country have come in" on Muslims' religious property that "has been destroyed, confiscated, looted, lost, stolen or taken without cause". Ali also said in his court papers that Muslim inmates have been subjected to "very hard times and bad treatment" at the hands of federal, state and local prison employees. Ali tried to convince the court that “many prison employees think that they can hurt you best taking your personally owned property”.
Of course the primary issue Ali based his suit on is that because he has "practiced his faith to the fullest" he has been subjected to prison officials repeatedly confiscating and destroying his legal and religious property. Ali said he has been harassed for his religious beliefs "year after year" in both the District of Columbia Department of Corrections and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
The ruling in this case was the first 5-4 split of the current term. During the last term there was a 5-4 division on 24 cases.