Young America's Foundation v. Kaler, No. 20-3029 (8th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against University officials, alleging that the University's then-existing events policy was unconstitutional facially and as applied to them under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. In this case, after Students for a Conservative Voice (SCV) brought Ben Shapiro to speak at the University, officials rejected various proposed venues for the event, citing security concerns. Ultimately, the officials approved a smaller, more remote venue than what SCV had requested.
The Eighth Circuit concluded that SCV's facial challenges and requests for injunctive relief are now moot and that plaintiffs lack standing to maintain their as-applied claim. The court explained that the University's "Large Scale Event Process" policy had been replaced with a new "Major Events" policy, which was more detailed and pertains to the entirety of the University's campus, and plaintiffs failed to show that it is "virtually certain" that the prior policy will be reenacted. In regard to plaintiffs' as-applied claim, they have failed to show that the policy was in fact applied to them. The court stated that the record reflects that the officials' decisions were independent of the Large Scale Event Process and made within the scope of each officials' position at the University, but plaintiffs' complaint presents no First Amendment challenge to the officials' actions apart from the application of the now repealed policy. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's orders with respect to those claims and remanded with instructions to dismiss without prejudice.
Court Description: [Shepherd, Author, with Smith, Chief Judge, and Grasz, Circuit Judge] Civil case - Civil rights. Students for a Conservative Voice's facial challenges to the University "Large Scale Event Process" policy were moot because the University had replaced the policy with a new "Major Events" policy, and the group had not shown that it is "virtually certain" that the prior policy will be reenacted; accordingly, the group's facial challenges under the First and Fourteenth Amendments against the defendants in their official capacity are moot; with respect to plaintiffs' claim that the defendants unconstitutionally applied the Large Scale Event Process policy to their event planning process, the plaintiffs do not have standing to maintain their as-applied challenge because they have not shown that the policy was in fact applied to them; because Students for a Conservative Voices' claims for injunctive relief are moot and plaintiffs lacked standing to maintain their as-applied claim, the district court's order of dismissal and grant of summary judgment as it relates to those claims is vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss the claims without prejudice. Judge Grasz, concurring in part and dissenting in part.