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Proof of Jewish Heritage May Violate Equal Protection

Washington state prisoner James Shilling, a converted Jew, filed a Federal
civil rights complaint against Washington and Nevada State Department of
Corrections (DOC) personnel, claiming that they violated his First and 14th
Amendment rights by denying him kosher meals while housed in Nevada DOC as
part of a bed sharing program. Washington DOC defendants filed a FRCP 12(c)
motion for judgment on the pleadings, claiming that Shilling failed to
allege that they violated his First Amendment freedom of expression and
equal protection rights. Defendants Clarke, Lehman and Thatcher alleged
that they were not liable under 42U.S.C. § 1983 based upon vicarious
liability or respondeat superior.

The Court denied the Washington Defendants' motion for judgment on the
pleadings because they required Shilling to prove his Jewish heritage,
thereby violating his equal protection rights. The Court further held that
Defendants Lehman and Clarke were entitled to judgment, since Shilling
didn't allege that they were personally involved in any constitutional
violations. Finally, the Court allowed Shilling to amend his complaint to
allege new evidence that Defendant Thatcher was personally involved in
denying him kosher meals. See: Shilling v. Crawford. USDC DNV. Case No.
2:05 CV 00899 PMP GWF (June 13, 2006).

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Related legal case

Shilling v. Crawford