The Satanic Temple v. Mike Parson, No. 16-3387 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Court Description: Per Curiam - Before Wollman, Melloy and Gruender, Circuit Judges] Civil case - First Amendment. In suit alleging five state-mandated abortion advisories and procedures (the "Missouri Tenets") violate plaintiffs' rights under the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment, plaintiff Mary Doe was not pregnant at the time she initiated this action and lacks constitutional standing; while pregnancy provides a classic justification for a conclusion of nonmootness, the doctrine does not apply here because plaintiff did not first establish standing; the Satanic Temple failed to demonstrate associational standing, and the case was properly dismissed.
United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit ___________________________ No. 16-3387 ___________________________ The Satanic Temple; Mary Doe lllllllllllllllllllllPlaintiffs - Appellants v. Mike Parson, Governor of the State of Missouri1; Josh Hawley, Attorney General of the State of Missouri lllllllllllllllllllllDefendants - Appellees ____________ Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis ____________ Submitted: September 20, 2017 Filed: August 28, 2018 [Unpublished] ____________ Before WOLLMAN, MELLOY, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges. ____________ PER CURIAM. The Satanic Temple and member Mary Doe filed suit against executive officers of the state of Missouri (the “Appellees”) alleging five state-mandated abortion 1 Governor Parson is automatically substituted for his predecessor under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 43(c)(2). advisories and procedures (sometimes referred to as the “Missouri Tenets”) under Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 188.027.1(2), 188.027.1(4), 188.027.3, and 188.027.12 (2014) (current version at Mo. Rev. Stat. § 188.027 (2017)) violate their rights under the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. The district court2 granted Appellees’ motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). We affirm. According to the complaint, “The Satanic Temple is an association of politically aware Satanists, secularists and advocates for individual liberty.” Mary Doe is a member of The Satanic Temple and a resident of the state of Missouri. After becoming pregnant, she sought an abortion in St. Louis, Missouri. She complied with certain state-mandated procedures, which the complaint alleges constituted direct and unwelcome personal contact with religion, in violation of the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses. After receiving the abortion, she filed this lawsuit in federal court seeking a series of declarations, an injunction, and attorneys’ fees and costs. We review de novo the district court’s dismissal of the complaint. Key Med. Supply, Inc. v. Burwell, 764 F.3d 955, 961 (8th Cir. 2014). “Article III of the Constitution confines the federal courts to adjudicating actual ‘cases’ and ‘controversies.’” Red River Freethinkers v. City of Fargo, 679 F.3d 1015, 1022 (8th Cir. 2012) (citation omitted) (quoting U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1.). “The usual rule in federal cases is that an actual controversy must exist at [all] stages of appellate or certiorari review, and not simply at the date the action is initiated.” Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 125 (1973); see also Missourians for Fiscal Accountability v. Klahr, 830 F.3d 789, 795 (8th Cir. 2016) (noting generally that the “requisite personal interest that must exist at the commencement of the litigation (standing) must continue throughout its existence (mootness)” (citation omitted)). Mary Doe 2 The Honorable Judge Henry E. Autry, United States Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri. -2- “bears the burden of showing that [s]he has standing for each type of relief sought.” Summers v. Earth Island Inst., 555 U.S. 488, 493 (2009). Here, Mary Doe was not pregnant at the date the action was initiated3 and seeks only prospective relief. See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61 (1992) (establishing that “the irreducible constitutional minimum of standing contains three elements”: (1) “injury in fact,” (2) “a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of,” and (3) a likelihood “that the injury will be ‘redressed by a favorable decision’” (citations omitted)); see also Summers, 555 U.S. at 493 (for plaintiffs seeking injunctive relief, “it must be likely that a favorable judicial decision will prevent or redress the injury”). Mary Doe therefore lacks constitutional standing. Additionally, although “[p]regnancy provides a classic justification for a conclusion of nonmootness,” the doctrine does not apply here because she did not first establish standing. Compare Roe, 410 U.S. at 125 (finding standing and nonmootness for a plaintiff who was pregnant when she filed suit and later obtained an abortion) with Roe at 127–29 (finding no standing for additional plaintiffs who were not pregnant when they filed suit); see also Klahr, 830 F.3d at 795. 3 The Satanic Temple has two similar matters, involving identical or similar parties and arguments, pending in state court and federal court. On January 23, 2018, the Supreme Court of Missouri heard oral arguments between the parties and has not yet released its opinion. See Doe v. Greitens, No. SC96751 (Mo. Jan. 23, 2018). There, Mary Doe (the same plaintiff as in the present case) was pregnant at the time she filed suit. On February 28, 2018, Judy Doe filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri against Appellees and certain named and unnamed doctors. See generally Complaint, Doe v. Greitens, No. 4:18-cv-00339 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 28, 2018). There the complaint alleges Judy Doe was pregnant at the time she filed suit. As of August 23, 2018, the district court has not yet ruled on the defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). -3- As Mary Doe does not have standing to sue in her own right, and there are no other named members in the complaint, The Satanic Temple failed to demonstrate associational standing. See Red River Freethinkers, 679 F.3d at 1022 (noting that an association “has standing to bring suit on behalf of its members when: (a) its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right”). Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court. ______________________________ -4-