Today, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Atlanta, Ga., closed the book on a literature distribution case in Orange County Public Schools (Fla.) filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national state-church watchdog with more than 22,500 members and a chapter in Florida. The court did not reach the merits of FFRF’s case, finding the lawsuit to be mooted by changes the school district made.
The court resolved a few outstanding procedural issues in favor of the district but did not alter what FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor considers a resounding victory. “We asked the school district more than two years ago to close down this bible distribution forum. It took a lawsuit but they finally listened. They did exactly what we asked for in the first place.” In January 2013, FFRF asked the school district to “halt all distributions.” See Exhibit D. But it wasn’t until February 2015 that the district finally complied.
“Bibles are not going to be distributed in the schools and that is the most important takeaway,” added FFRF Co-President Dan Barker.
The court noted that “FFRF would be free to reinstate its suit” if Orange County Schools do not toe the appropriate constitutional line. “We’ll be keeping an eye on them,” noted Barker.