What's at Stake
In December 2008, Lisa Valentine, a devout Muslim, accompanied her nephew to Douglasville Municipal Court for his traffic hearing. While going through security, she was informed by an officer that she would have to remove her religious head covering before she entered the courtroom, due the court’s "no headgear" policy. When she protested the policy, believing it to be a violation of her right to freely practice her faith, she was restrained, arrested, forced to remove her headscarf, and jailed.
The ACLU and the ACLU of Georgia are suing the City of Douglasville and the arresting officers for violating Valentine’s First and Fourth Amendment rights, as well as her rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and asking the court to ensure that religious head coverings will be allowed in the courthouse.