Citizens for Quality Education San Diego et al v. San Diego Unified School District et al, No. 3:2017cv01054 - Document 63 (S.D. Cal. 2018)

Court Description: ORDER denying Plaintiffs' 26 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Court denies Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction in its entirety because Plaintiffs have failed to show that this extraordinary relief is warranted. Signed by Judge Cynthia Bashant on 9/25/2018. (jah)
Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 CITIZENS FOR QUALITY EDUCATION SAN DIEGO, et al., Plaintiffs, 12 13 14 15 Case No. 17-cv-1054-BAS-JMA v. ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [ECF No. 26] RICHARD BARRERA, in his official capacity as Board President, et al., Defendants. 16 17 This case stems from the San Diego Unified School District’s (the “District”) 18 decision in July 2016 to develop an Anti-Islamophobia Initiative (the “Initiative”) to 19 address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying and the District’s decision in April 20 2017 to adopt implementing “Action Steps.” 21 Plaintiffs are two organizations—Citizens for Quality Education San Diego 22 (“CQESD”) and San Diego Asian Americans for Equality Foundation 23 (“SDAAEF”)—and six parents of students in the District—Scott Hasson, Chaoyin 24 He, Xuexun Hu, Kevin and Melissa Steel, and Jose Velazquez (collectively, 25 “Plaintiffs”). Plaintiffs claim that the Initiative is a pretext to establish the District’s 26 preference for Islam and Muslim students. They allege that the Initiative and its 27 implementing measures establish “a subtle, discriminatory scheme” based on religion 28 in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Federal Constitution, the –1– 17cv1054 1 religion clauses of the California Constitution, and various California state statutory 2 provisions. (ECF No. 3 First Am. Compl. (“FAC”).) Plaintiffs further allege that the 3 District’s relationship with non-party Council on American-Islamic Relations1 4 (“CAIR”) to address Islamophobia violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights because 5 Defendants “have entangled themselves with [a] religious organization.” (FAC ¶ 2.) 6 Given the parties’ previous request to dismiss Plaintiffs’ claim for nominal damages, 7 the only relief Plaintiffs seek is injunctive and declaratory. (ECF Nos. 17, 19.) 8 Before the Court is Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. (ECF No. 9 26.) Plaintiffs request this relief solely for the claims they assert pursuant to the No 10 Preference and No Aid Clauses of the California Constitution and the First 11 Amendment’s Establishment Clause. (ECF No. 26-1 at 11–18.)2 In connection with 12 these claims, Plaintiffs request the Court enjoin Defendants from: (1) 13 “[i]mplementing and executing the Initiative as detailed in the Policy’s ‘Action Steps’ 14 or any similar Policy,” (2) “[p]ermitting [CAIR], its employees, agents, and 15 representatives to advance their organizational objectives within the District,” and (3) 16 “[a]dopting and implementing the CAIR Committee’s ‘Islamophobia Toolkit’ and all 17 related online resources, recommended books, and instructional materials, together 18 with all such materials currently in use in the District.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 21–22.) 19 Defendants oppose Plaintiffs’ motion. (ECF Nos. 32, 55.) Because the parties 20 previously requested dismissal of the District as a defendant (ECF Nos. 17, 19), the 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 CAIR is a Muslim civil liberties organization, which seeks to enhance understanding of Islam and empower Muslim Americans as part of its mission. (FAC ¶¶ 63, 65.) CAIR provides informational resources to teachers and students, which includes information about Islamic religious practices and religious accommodations for Muslim students. (LiMandri Decl. ¶¶ 13–14, Exs. 11– 12.) In its amicus brief, CAIR states that “Islam is not a monolith” and “while CAIR and CAIRCA endeavor to support all American Muslims, their positions do not necessarily reflect the entire breadth of the American Muslim experience.” (ECF No. 36 at 1 n.1.) 2 Plaintiffs do not move based on the other claims raised in the FAC, which include Plaintiffs’ First Amendment Free Exercise Clause, Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, and California state statutory claims. The Court will not analyze those claims in this Order. –2– 17cv1054 1 remaining Defendants in this case are District Board members Richard Barrera, Kevin 2 Beiser, John Lee Evans, Cynthia Marten, Michael McQuary, and Sharon Whitehurst- 3 Payne (collectively, “Defendants” or the “Board”). Among other arguments they 4 raise, Defendants contend that one of the District’s post-FAC actions has mooted 5 Plaintiffs’ claims, which they argue in turn means that Plaintiffs cannot show a 6 likelihood of success on the merits or irreparable harm. (ECF No. 32 at 8–13; ECF 7 No. 55 at 1–8.) CAIR-California (“CAIR” for the purposes of this Order) has filed 8 an amicus curiae brief opposing Plaintiffs’ motion based on the merits of Plaintiffs’ 9 claims, to which Plaintiffs have responded. (ECF Nos. 36, 50.) 10 Having considered the FAC, the preliminary injunction record and the briefing, 11 the Court denies Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in its entirety because 12 Plaintiffs have failed to show that this extraordinary relief is warranted. BACKGROUND3 13 14 The “Initiative”. On July 26, 2016, the Board approved a recommendation by 15 two Board members to “take action to direct the superintendent to bring back to the 16 board a plan to address Islamophobia and the reports of bullying of Muslim students 17 . . . at a future date.” (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 4 Ex. 2; FAC ¶ 30.) Plaintiffs refer to this 18 Board action as the “Initiative.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 2.) 19 20 The parties dispute the reasons for the Initiative’s genesis. Defendants represent that they adopted the Initiative “[i]n the wake of the increased instances of 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 The Court draws on the FAC’s allegations and the parties’ preliminary injunction submissions to outline the relevant background for this Order. In doing so, the Court overrules Defendants’ multiple objections to Plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction evidence. (ECF Nos. 32-1, 551.) Evidence proffered in connection with a preliminary injunction motion is not subject to the evidentiary strictures that would apply, for example, at the summary judgment or trial stages. See Flynt Distrib. Co. v. Harvey, 734 F.2d 1389, 1394 (9th Cir. 1984). District courts have discretion to consider otherwise inadmissible evidence when ruling on the merits of a preliminary injunction. See Rosen Entm’t Systems, LP v. Eiger Vision, 343 F. Supp. 2d 908, 912 (C.D. Cal. 2004) (citing Flynt Distrib. Co., 734 F.2d at 1394). The form of the evidence simply impacts the weight the evidence is accorded in assessing the merits of equitable relief. Id. Accordingly, the Court summarily overrules all Defendants’ objections. 3 –3– 17cv1054 1 Islamophobia following Donald Trump’s election campaign.” (ECF No. 32 at 2.) 2 Defendants cite an article, which explains that “[h]ate crimes against American 3 Muslims have soared to their highest levels since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 4 attacks, according to data compiled by researchers” and identifies statements by 5 candidate Trump about Muslims as one source. (Id. at 2 n.1); see Eric Lichtblau, Hate 6 Crimes Against American Muslims Most Since Post-9/11 Era,” N.Y. TIMES (Sept. 17, 7 2016), 8 muslims rise.html. The FAC also alleges that the Board relied on a CAIR California 9 state-wide survey, Growing in Faith: California Muslim Youth Experiences with 10 Bullying, Harassment & Religious Accommodation in Schools [hereinafter “CAIR 11 Survey”].4 12 California Muslim youth regarding religion-based bullying and harassment.5 https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/18/us/politics/hate-crimes-american- (FAC ¶¶ 36–39.) The survey details the experiences of surveyed 13 In contrast, Plaintiffs believe that the Initiative’s express focus on 14 Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying masks the District’s true goal to “singl[e] out 15 a religious sect for favorable treatment” and “delegat[e] government power to a 16 religious organization,” i.e., CAIR.6 (ECF No. 26-1 at 1; FAC ¶¶ 1–3.) For example, 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 Plaintiffs do not provide a copy of the survey and the web link they provide in the FAC does not link to any CAIR survey. The Court’s own search for the survey Plaintiffs name, however, has returned the following source. See Growing in Faith: California Muslim Youth Experiences with Bullying, Harassment & Religious Accommodation in Schools, CAIR CALIFORNIA (2013), https://ca.cair.com/sfba/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2018/04/GrowingInFaith.pdf?x93160. The FAC further alleges that “[a]s a moving force for the [] Initiative, Defendants relied, and continue to rely, upon oral testimony given at separate Board meetings by Muslim students who were purportedly bullied at schools.” (FAC ¶ 33.) The FAC alleges that this Muslim student testimony was “prepared.” (Id. ¶ 123.) Plaintiffs do not submit evidence of “prepared” Muslim student testimony with the preliminary injunction record. When asked about these allegations at oral argument, Plaintiffs’ counsel suggested that there was no basis to treat such testimony as credible. The Court is at a loss to understand why. 5 6 In its original form, the FAC contained multiple allegations attempting to link CAIR with “terrorist organizations.” The Court struck these allegations as scandalous as well as irrelevant and immaterial to the claims in this case. (ECF No. 24.) Plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction motion, however, comes close to invoking the spirit of these stricken allegations by asserting that “CAIR prioritizes public school districts as ground zero to advance its religious mission.” (ECF 26-1 at 5.) –4– 17cv1054 1 Plaintiffs point to the District’s reported instances of bullying as insufficient to show 2 “a Muslim bullying crisis even existed.” (Id. at 3.) The District’s 2016 “Protected 3 Class Report” for July 2016 through December 2016 reported seven incidents of 4 religion-based bullying, which Plaintiffs characterize as showing a “a 0.006% crisis” 5 based on the District’s approximate 125,300 K-12 student enrollment as of May 19, 6 2017. (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 7 Ex 5; FAC ¶¶ 27–28). Plaintiffs further note that the 7 District reported to the California Department of Education in 2015 and 2016 “just 8 two instances related to Muslim students.” (ECF No. 26 at 3; LiMandri Decl. ¶¶ 5– 9 6, Exs. 3–4.) Lastly, Plaintiffs point to a pre-existing California state law requirement 10 that California public school districts adopt policies that prohibit religiously-based 11 “discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying” to assert that the District 12 already had an anti-bullying program in place. (ECF No. 26-1 at 3 (citing 5 Cal. Code 13 Reg. § 4261); FAC ¶ 22.) 14 The “Action Steps”. In an April 4, 2017 presentation to the Board, Stanley 15 Anjan, the Executive Director of the District’s Family and Community Engagement 16 Department (“FACE”) “propos[ed] action steps for an anti-Muslim bullying 17 initiative.” (ECF No. 32-2 Anjan Decl. ¶¶ 2–3; see also LiMandri Decl. ¶ 7 Ex. 5 at 18 51; FAC ¶ 5.) Anjan identified three sets of “Action Steps” for the District7: 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 7 Following the three slides which identify the Action Steps, the presentation also included a slide titled “Student Empowerment.” (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 7 Ex. 5 at 58.) The slide identified the following items: “[c]reate opportunities for students to come together and share out their successes and challenges in service of unity,” “[i]dentify safe places and individuals for students to reach out to campus if they have a concern,” and “[e]xplore clubs at the secondary level to promote the American Muslim Culture and the student experiences.” (Id.) –5– 17cv1054 Action Steps 1 2 (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 7 Ex. 5 at 55–57; Anjan Decl. ¶ 3 Ex. A at 8–10; FAC ¶¶ 53–55.) “Distribute a letter to staff and parents addressing Islamophobia and direct support” “Review district calendars to ensure Muslim holidays are recognized” 5 “Include a link of supports on the district’s ‘Report Bullying’ page” 6 “Provide resources and strategies to support students during the upcoming month of Ramadan” “Continue the collaboration with community partners and district departments” “Review and vet materials related to Muslim culture and history at the Instructional Media Center or in video libraries” 12 “Action steps: Before the start of the 2017–18 school year” 13 “Explore and engage in formal partnerships with the Council on AmericanIslamic Relations (CAIR)” “Create a survey to measure knowledge and implementation of practice” “Identify areas of prevention, intervention, and restoration”: “Restorative Practices” and “Trauma Informed Practices” “Provide a series of professional development opportunities for staff related to awareness and advocacy for Muslim culture” “Provide practical tools for educators regarding Islamic religious practices and accommodations in schools” 3 4 “Immediate Action Steps” 7 8 9 10 11 14 15 16 17 18 19 “Steps Over Multiple Years” “Provide resources and materials for teachers on the History/Social Services page” “Add information related to this topic in the Annual Employee Notifications (AP 6381)” 20 21 Defendants acknowledge that “the Board approved the plan in the presentation, 22 and FACE was responsible for implementing the action steps.” (Anjan Decl. ¶ 3.) 23 Plaintiffs refer to the Action Steps as “the Initiative’s official policies and 24 procedures[.]” (FAC ¶ 52; ECF No. 26-1 at 3 (labelling Action Steps as the “Policy”.) 25 Plaintiffs speculate that the Action Steps are the “polished product of months 26 of close collaboration between” the District and CAIR, but their speculation is not 27 credibly supported. 28 speculation from notes of a September 26, 2016 CAIR meeting attended by some (ECF No. 26-1 at 3.) –6– Plaintiffs’ derive support for this 17cv1054 1 District officials, including Defendant Superintendent Marten. (See LiMandri Decl. 2 ¶ 8 Ex. 6.) The topics of the meeting included resources for teachers, professional 3 development, curriculum, reporting bullying, and metrics to assess progress. (Id.) 4 Beyond this document, the evidence otherwise shows that CAIR provided 5 suggestions to the District and otherwise lacked information on aspects of the 6 District’s implementation plan.8 The District in fact notes that although CAIR “has 7 been very generous in offering its time, advice and guidance to the district on ways 8 to prevent bullying against Muslim students . . . [t]he District’s anti-bullying program 9 has been developed and implemented by District staff.” (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 25 Ex. 23 10 (emphasis added).) Plaintiffs do not provide evidence controverting this. 11 For example, in the week before the Action Steps were announced, Mohebi, 12 CAIR-San Diego’s Executive Director, emailed Linda Trousdale, a District 13 employee, about the April 4, 2017 Board meeting. (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 24 Ex. 22.) 14 Mohebi expressed his concern that “we have not discussed details of an MOU, 15 partnership, or any understanding” and noted that he had shared comments on the 16 proposed presentation. (Id.) Defendant Marten responded: “[w]hile the details for 17 the implementation of these plans are currently being developed, one thing is clear: 18 you, and your organization—CAIR are key partners in any of our next steps. I look 19 forward to continuing to partner with you in our next steps.” (Id.) 20 Shortly after announcing the Action Steps, District officials explored 21 purchasing several CAIR-recommended third party books for the District’s 22 Intercultural Materials Center (“IMC”). (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 28 Ex. 26; Woehler Decl. 23 24 25 26 27 28 8 Plaintiffs include a printout of a rush transcript from a July 28, 2016 KPBS News radio interview with Hanif Mohebi, Executive Director of CAIR’s San Diego chapter, titled “San Diego Unified School Board Approves Creation of Anti-Islamophobia Plan.” (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 12 Ex. 10.) In the transcript, Mohebi describes testimony provided by Muslim students to the Board, the experience of anti-Muslim bullying more generally, and reflects on measures that he would like to see as part of the District’s plan. (Id.) The transcript does not reflect the level of collaboration Plaintiffs allege. –7– 17cv1054 1 ¶ 3.) Pursuant to California Education Code § 600409 and District procedures, the 2 District’s Instructional Resources and Materials Department (“IRMD”) vetted 3 suggested books. (Woehler Decl. ¶ 3 Exs. B, C.) Valerie Shields, a CAIR member, 4 sent Anjan a $1,236.54 Barnes & Noble price quote for the anticipated purchase of 5 several books, the titles of which included “Does My Head Look Big in This?”, “I’m 6 New Here”, and “Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story.” (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 30 Ex. 7 28; Woehler Decl. ¶ 4.) A District employee subsequently purchased the books using 8 an IRMD procurement card with the costs covered by a budget code whose funds 9 derive from payments by a third party recycling company for old books the District 10 recycles. (Woehler Decl. ¶¶ 3–4.) Books were then distributed at “trainings with 11 school librarians during the week of May 8, 2017,” but without Anjan’s authorization. 12 (Id. ¶ 4; Anjan Decl. ¶ 4.) 13 The Aftermath. The Action Steps and perceptions about the extent of CAIR’s 14 alleged involvement in developing them were viewed unfavorably by some. During 15 April 2017 Board meetings, several parents and local community members “presented 16 their concerns” that the Action Steps showed “Defendants’ favoritism and preference 17 for a particular religious group” and that Defendants had a “sustained and detailed 18 relationship with a controversial advocacy organization.” (FAC ¶ 58.) In an April 19 27, 2017 letter, Plaintiffs’ counsel told the Board “that the [] Initiative raises serious 20 constitutional questions,” “the policies, practices, and procedures associated with the 21 [] Initiative were presently insufficient to prevent civil rights violations,” and 22 “recommended that Defendants rescind the prior vote that approved the [] Initiative.” 23 (Id. ¶¶ 59–60.) 24 These negative reactions affected the District. On May 12, 2017, Anjan 25 directed Steven Woehler, a District employee, to “retrieve all distributed [CAIR- 26 27 28 Section 60040 provides that: “When adopting instructional materials for use in the schools, governing boards shall include only instructional materials which, in their determination, accurately portray the cultural and racial diversity of our society[.]” Cal. Educ. Code § 60040(b). 9 –8– 17cv1054 1 recommended] books from school librarians.” (Woehler Decl. ¶ 4; Anjan Decl. ¶ 4.) 2 On May 17, 2017, Anjan “informed CAIR that SDUSD was putting a pause on any 3 further actions pursuant to the April 4, 2017 Board meeting while SDUSD made the 4 determination as to how best to move forward with the CAIR relationship.” (Anjan 5 Decl. ¶ 5.) Shortly thereafter, Plaintiffs filed the Complaint on May 22, 2017 and the 6 FAC on June 28, 2017, seeking to enjoin Defendants from “enacting, implementing, 7 and enforcing” the Initiative and “engaging in any partnership or associations 8 whatsoever with” CAIR. (ECF Nos. 1, 3.) 9 The Revised Policy. “In the wake of backlash from certain community 10 members and this lawsuit” (ECF No. 32 at 3) and after the FAC was filed, Defendant 11 Superintendent Marten moved the Board to adopt a new “plan” to “address[] 12 tolerance” on July 25, 2017. (Anjan Decl. ¶ 6 Exs. E, F; ECF No. 32-6 Villegas Decl. 13 ¶ 3; LiMandri Decl. ¶ 32 Ex. 30.) The Board meeting agenda identified this plan as 14 “E. STUDENT INSTRUCTIONAL MATTERS. 2. Revised 7/25/17: Addressing 15 Tolerance Through the Comprehensive School Counseling and Guidance Plan.” 16 (Anjan Decl. ¶ 6 Exs. E, F; LiMandri Decl. ¶ 32 Ex. 30.) Plaintiffs call this action the 17 Revised Policy.10 18 The Revised Policy acknowledges that the purpose of the Board’s April 4, 2017 19 “plan to address the bullying of Muslim students” was “to raise awareness of the issue 20 of anti-Muslim bullying, ensure that District staff are aware of and sensitive to the 21 issue, and to assure our Muslim community that their children will given [sic] the 22 same protection from bullying as other students in the District.” (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 23 32 Ex. 30.) Under the Revised Policy, however, “the Board affirms its commitment 24 to ensure our schools are safe for all students and that the District will not tolerate the 25 26 Plaintiffs’ opening motion referred to the Board’s July 25, 2017 action as a “sham” and, thus, referred only to a singular “Policy.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 18 n.70.) In reply, Plaintiffs have differentiated the April 4, 2017 “Original Policy” from the July 25, 2017 “Revised Policy.” (ECF No. 51 at viii.) 10 27 28 –9– 17cv1054 1 bullying of any students; and clarifies that our Muslim students will be treated equally 2 with respect to bullying.” (Id.) In this manner, the Revised Policy articulates guiding 3 principles for how the District will address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying, 4 which are absent from the Action Steps. The Revised Policy continues: 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 A calendar of observances to be created shall include holidays of all faiths for the purpose of enhancing mutual understanding and respect among the various religious, ethnic and cultural groups, and to assist staff to be sensitive to such holidays in the scheduling of events. Staff have not been assigned specifically to address the bullying of students of any single religion; rather, the District’s antibullying program is developed to comprehensively address the issue of bullying of all students through the No Place for Hate program. The District’s instructional materials are and will continue to be consistent with state standards which address all major world religions in the context of world history and culture. While students are entitled under federal law to form student clubs focused on religion; however, District policy (consistent with federal law) prohibits staff from promoting any such club and that remains unchanged. 18 (Id. (bulleting added).) Several of these items are consistent with the Action Steps 19 and the Revised Policy is largely silent on the Board’s approach to several Action 20 Steps. But, in a stark departure from a prior Action Step, the Revised Policy 21 commands that “staff is redirected from forming a formal partnership with CAIR to 22 forming an intercultural committee which shall include representatives of all faiths 23 and cultures and which shall provide input to District staff on issues of cultural 24 sensitivities and the individual needs of various subgroups within our diverse 25 community.” (Id.) 26 Plaintiffs believe the Revised Policy’s statement regarding the District’s 27 potential formal partnership with CAIR was a farce because of a communication prior 28 to the Board’s announcement. Two hours before the Board publicly announced the – 10 – 17cv1054 1 Revised Policy, CAIR member Linda Williams sent District employees a “1st 2 DRAFT” for “[c]reating a Toolkit of online resources for Addressing Islamophobia.” 3 (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 33 Ex. 31.) Noting that the CAIR Committee which compiled the 4 resources “is comprised of a large number of interfaith, intercultural community 5 volunteers,” Williams characterized the resources as “only the very beginnings of 6 what could grow into a robust ‘Toolkit’ for Teachers, Counselors, and 7 Administrators.” (Id.) The resources included: CAIR’s 2013 and 2015 reports on 8 anti-Muslim bullying, suggested book lists for addressing Islamophobia, 9 “compassionate comprehension” exercises for students, information on restorative 10 justice and conflict resolution techniques, and information for teachers about 11 childhood trauma. (Id.) 12 Contrary to Plaintiffs’ view, the Revised Policy clearly alters CAIR’s 13 relationship with the District, including by CAIR’s own account. On July 28, 2017, 14 Williams contacted the Board. She acknowledged “the challenges and stress created 15 by the backlash to the Board 4-4-17 vote to address Islamophobia and the bullying of 16 Muslim students—and especially the ensuring threats and lawsuit.” (LiMandri Decl. 17 ¶ 35 Ex. 33.) Yet, she noted that, “[w]e are still quite incredulous that no one 18 connected with CAIR or our Committee . . . to give us a respectful, timely notice that 19 Board action item E.2 included specific reference to the District’s relationship with 20 CAIR, changing that relationship in dramatic though unspecified ways.” 21 Williams expressed that “the following list of Action Steps are still in effect. Our 22 Committee has worked diligently to assist the District in Implementation; however, 23 instead of being supported and . . . appreciated, our efforts have actually been 24 undone/reversed by District Staff[.] Please let us know what the next steps are—and 25 when they will be taken—to follow through with what the Board voted unanimously 26 to do on 4-4-17.” (Id.) Williams further noted that CAIR was requesting a restorative 27 justice circle with the District. (Id.) 28 Post-Revised Policy. (Id.) In the wake of the Revised Policy, the CAIR– 11 – 17cv1054 1 recommended, District-vetted books “were subsequently incorporated into a 2 Multicultural Text Set that covered a variety of culture and identity groups to support 3 SDUSD’s goal of providing a supportive environment for all students that values 4 diversity.” (Woehler Decl. ¶ 5; Anjan Decl. ¶ 4.) The books appear to have been re- 5 distributed to District libraries by November 2017. (LiMandri Supp. Decl. ¶ 3 Ex. 6 53.) Accordingly, Plaintiffs contend that “school library shelves are stocked with 7 CAIR books.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 8.) 8 On November 1, 2017, the District entered into a formal partnership with the 9 Anti-Defamation League (“ADL”)11 to implement the No Place for Hate program. 10 (Villegas Decl. ¶ 3 Ex. J.) The program “is a strong anti-bullying effort that highlights 11 and fosters positive school environments, climates, and cultures for all students” and 12 “does not emphasize any one religion[.]” (Id. ¶ 3.) The District has not entered into 13 a formal partnership with and “has not implemented any program, curriculum, or 14 materials created by CAIR[.]” (ECF No. 32 at 7; Anjan Decl. ¶ 12; Santos Decl. ¶ 7; 15 Villegas Decl. ¶ 5.) 16 The District also established the Intercultural Relations Community Council 17 (“IRCC”), which is overseen by the Youth and Family Advocacy Department and 18 District staff. (ECF No. 32-4 Santos Decl. ¶¶ 2–3, 8; Anjan Decl. ¶ 7.) The IRCC 19 first met on January 22, 2018, to “hav[e] an open dialogue with community members 20 and local organizations regarding safe and inclusive school environments for all 21 students.” (Santos Decl. ¶ 3; Anjan Decl. ¶ 7 Ex. H.) Organizations present included 22 the San Diego LGBT Community Center, San Diego Youth Services, the Southern 23 California American Indian Resource Center, and Social Advocates for Youth San 24 Diego. (Anjan Decl. ¶ 7.) Attendees expressed excitement about using the IRCC to 25 focus on diversity and social justice. (LiMandri Supp. Decl. ¶ 18 Ex. 68.) Additional 26 meetings were held on March 29 and May 21, 2018. (Santos Decl. ¶ 3 Ex. I.) 27 28 According to Plaintiffs, the ADL “is a national, nonprofit organization that works to stop anti-Semitism, discrimination, and bigotry[.]” (FAC ¶ 45.) 11 – 12 – 17cv1054 1 Interactions between the District and CAIR. The District and CAIR have 2 interacted since the Board adopted the Revised Policy. First, as a follow-up to the 3 previously suggested “toolkit” resources, Williams provided an updated list of 4 resources on August 9, 2017 “to be reviewed/vetted by SDUSD Curriculum 5 Department,” noting that “[w]e are glad to support the District’s efforts in this way[.]” 6 (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 36 Ex. 34.) Another CAIR member, Lallia Allali, suggested 7 additional books on addressing Islamophobia—several of which were the books the 8 District purchased in May 2017. (Id.; see also LiMandri Decl. ¶ 38 Ex. 36)12 9 Williams followed up with District staff about the suggested resources on September 10 28, 2017. (LiMandri Supp. Decl. ¶ 7 Ex. 57.) Plaintiffs label all the materials Allali 11 and Williams suggested as “the District’s New ‘Islamophobia Toolkit,’” and contend 12 that the “Toolkit” is being circulated in the District. (ECF No. 26-1 at 8–9.) Plaintiffs 13 do not provide evidence showing that the District has adopted this “Toolkit.” 14 Second, the District and CAIR sought to repair their relationship given the 15 damage it sustained from the backlash to the Initiative and the Action Steps. The 16 District met with representatives of CAIR, Alliance San Diego (“ASD”) and the 17 American Civil Liberties Union at ASD’s suggestion on August 31, 2017. (ECF No. 18 32-5 Sharp Decl. ¶ 4.) The District and CAIR subsequently held a restorative circle 19 on November 9, 2017 at a Buddhist temple which was facilitated by third parties. 20 (Anjan Decl. ¶ 8 Ex. K; Sharp Decl. ¶ 5; LiMandri Supp. Decl. ¶ 2 Ex. 52.) A follow- 21 up email regarding the circle noted that “CAIR will be an active member of the 22 Intercultural Community Council.” (LiMandri Supp. Decl. ¶ 3 Ex. 53.) Defendant 23 Marten specifically “requested that CAIR stay engaged as an important partner with 24 SDUSD in addressing Islamophobia” and “welcome[d] the CAIR Committee’s input 25 to the ADL curriculum used in the District—specifically in regards to teaching about 26 27 28 Plaintiffs also highlight that an August 23, 2017 version of CAIR’s resource list included the phrase “CAIR flyers for students, when ready!” (ECF No. 26-1 at 8; LiMandri Decl. ¶ 37 Ex. 35.) The record does not show the provision of CAIR flyers to the District. 12 – 13 – 17cv1054 1 addressing Islamophobia.” (Id.) 2 A follow-up meeting occurred on December 11, 2017. (Anjan Decl. ¶ 9; Santos 3 Decl. ¶ 4; LiMandri Supp. Decl. ¶ 16 Ex. 66.) Agenda items developed by CAIR 4 included “Action Items from 4-4-17 which were NOT rescinded on 7-25-17,” 5 “supplementing 6 approaches/materials to address Islamophobia” and “sending the online teacher 7 support materials.” (LiMandri Supp. Dec. ¶¶ 5–6 Exs. 55–56 (capitalization in 8 original).) At the meeting, District staff introduced CAIR to the District employee in 9 charge of the IRCC. (Anjan Decl. ¶ 10; Santos Decl. ¶ 4.) Additional meetings 10 between the District and CAIR occurred on January 11, 2018 and February 8, 2018 11 to plan for upcoming IRCC meetings. (Anjan Decl. ¶ 9; Santos Decl. ¶ 5; LiMandri 12 Supp. Decl. ¶ 17 Ex. 67 .) CAIR has continued to send the District suggested 13 resources. (LiMandri Supp. Decl. ¶ 10 Ex. 60.) 14 ADL’s efforts in the District with APPROPRIATE LEGAL STANDARD 15 A preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy that may only be awarded 16 upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled to such relief.” Winter v. NRDC, 17 Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008). 18 injunction must establish that (1) they are likely to succeed on the merits; (2) they are 19 likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) the balance 20 of equities tips in their favor; and (4) a preliminary injunction is in the public interest.” 21 Sierra Forest Legacy v. Rey, 577 F.3d 1015, 1021 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing Winter, 555 22 U.S. at 20). A preliminary injunction may also be proper “if there is a likelihood of 23 irreparable injury to plaintiff; there are serious questions going to the merits; the 24 balance of hardships tips sharply in favor of the plaintiff; and the injunction is in the 25 public interest.” M.R. v. Dreyfus, 697 F.3d 706, 725 (9th Cir. 2012). 26 27 28 “Under Winter, plaintiffs seeking a preliminary DISCUSSION I. The Court’s Jurisdiction to Issue a Preliminary Injunction The Court must first consider the jurisdictional issues of standing and – 14 – 17cv1054 1 mootness. Plaintiffs argue that they have shown Article III standing to seek the 2 requested injunctive relief because Defendants failed to oppose Plaintiffs’ assertions 3 of standing in Plaintiffs’ opening brief. (ECF No. 51 at 3.) This argument is 4 inherently flawed because a litigant cannot waive Article III’s requirements. Ass’n of 5 Christian Sch. Int’l v. Stearns, 678 F. Supp. 2d 980, 984 (C.D. Cal. 2008) (citing 6 United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 751 v. Brown Grp., Inc., 517 U.S. 7 544, 551 (1996)). Even if a defendant fails to challenge Article III standing, a federal 8 court has an independent duty to assure itself that a plaintiff has properly invoked its 9 jurisdiction. FW/PBS, Inc. v. City of Dallas, 493 U.S. 215, 231 (1990) (“The federal 10 courts are under an independent obligation to examine their own jurisdiction, and 11 standing ‘is perhaps the most important of [the jurisdictional] doctrines.’” (quoting 12 Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 750 (1984)). And it is Plaintiffs’ burden to show— 13 rather than Defendants’ burden to disprove—the existence of jurisdiction. Kokkonen 14 v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (“It is to be presumed that 15 a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the 16 contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction.”). Thus, the Court assesses 17 whether the Plaintiffs have shown standing and then considers mootness. 18 A. 19 Article III limits federal courts to deciding “cases” and “controversies.” U.S. 20 Const. art. III, § 2; Valley Forge Christian Coll. v. Ams. United for Separation of 21 Church & State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471 (1982). Because of this limitation, a plaintiff 22 who invokes federal jurisdiction must show “the irreducible constitutional 23 minimum”: (1) an injury in fact via an invasion of a legally protected interest that is 24 concrete, particularized, and actual or imminent, rather than conjectural or 25 hypothetical, (2) fairly traceable to the defendant’s conduct, and (3) redressable by a 26 favorable judicial decision. Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016) 27 (citing Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560–61 (1992)). A plaintiff 28 “‘must demonstrate standing for each claim he seeks to press’ and ‘for each form of Standing – 15 – 17cv1054 1 relief’ that is sought.” Davis v. Fed. Election Comm’n, 554 U.S. 724, 734 (2008) 2 (quoting DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 352 (2006)). A plaintiff’s 3 standing to sue is determined based on the facts that exist at the time of the complaint. 4 Clark v. City of Lakewood, 259 F.3d 996, 1006 (9th Cir. 2001); In re 1250 Oceanside 5 Partners, 260 F. Supp. 3d 1300, 1313 (D. Haw. 2017) (same). And “each element 6 must be supported . . . with the manner and degree of evidence required at the 7 successive stages of the litigation.” Lujan, 504 U.S. at 561. “[A]t the preliminary 8 injunction stage, a plaintiff must make a ‘clear showing’ of [the standing elements].” 9 Lopez v. Candaele, 630 F.3d 775, 785 (9th Cir. 2010). “Because ‘[c]onstitutional 10 challenges based on the First Amendment present unique standing considerations,’ 11 plaintiffs may establish an injury in fact without first suffering a direct injury from 12 the challenged restriction.” Id. (citation omitted). 13 1. 14 The Organizational Plaintiffs have not shown Article III standing whether 15 premised on (1) organizational harms or (2) in a representational capacity on behalf 16 of their members. First, although “[a]n organization has ‘direct standing to sue 17 [when] it show[s] a drain on its resources from both a diversion of its resources and 18 frustration of its mission,’” Valle Del Sol, Inc. v. Whiting, 732 F.3d 1006, 1018 (9th 19 Cir. 2013), neither organization alleges a diversion of resources. (FAC ¶¶ 8–9, 154, 20 169, 177, 186, 193.) Although they submit declarations invoking such harms (ECF 21 No. 26-3 Ex. 43 (CQESD Decl.); id. Ex. 44 (SDAAEF Decl.)), a plaintiff may not 22 “effectively amend its complaint by raising” new allegations of standing not 23 contained in the complaint. La Asociacion de Trabajadores de Lake Forest v. City of 24 Lake Forest, 624 F.3d 1083, 1088–89 (9th Cir. 2010) (rejecting as “ineffectual” 25 declarations averring standing on grounds absent from the complaint). Organizational Plaintiffs 26 Second, representational standing is also absent. “[A]n organization suing as 27 a representative [must] include at least one member with standing to present, in his or 28 her own right, the claim (or the type of claim) pleaded by the association.” United – 16 – 17cv1054 1 Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 751, 517 U.S. at 555. But neither 2 organization “identif[ies] a single member with standing to sue in his or her own 3 right” in the FAC, let alone in their preliminary injunction declarations. Advocates 4 for Individuals with Disabilities Found., Inc. v. Circle K Props., Inc., No. CV-16- 5 02358-PHX-SPL, 2017 WL 2637886, at *4 (D. Ariz. Mar. 20, 2017) (emphasis 6 added); (see generally CQESD Decl.; SDAAEF Decl.). The Individual Plaintiffs are 7 not alleged to be members of the Organizational Plaintiffs. And to the extent the 8 Organizational Plaintiffs seek to base representational standing on an unidentified 9 member’s taxpayer status, the Court’s taxpayer standing analysis with respect to the 10 Individual Plaintiffs forecloses this basis. 11 2. 12 The Individual Plaintiffs are District parents and schoolchildren and they are 13 not Muslim. (FAC ¶¶ 10–14, 119–20); Hasson Decl. ¶ 4; He Decl. ¶ 4; Hu Decl. ¶ 4; 14 Steel Decl. ¶ 4; Velazquez Decl. ¶ 4.) They aver that they possess Article III standing 15 as (1) District taxpayers and (2) as schoolchildren and parents who are “spiritually 16 affront[ed]” by the District’s challenged conduct. (ECF No. 26-1 at 19.) The Court 17 concludes that the Individual Plaintiffs lack taxpayer standing, but at least one 18 Individual Plaintiff possesses standing based on the alleged spiritual harms and direct 19 contact with challenged conduct. 20 Individual Plaintiffs a. Taxpayer Standing 21 “‘[T]axpayer standing,’ by its nature, requires an injury resulting from a 22 government’s expenditure of tax revenues.” Doe v. Madison Sch. Dist. No. 321, 177 23 F.3d 789, 793 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing Clay v. Fort Wayne Cmty. Schs., 76 F.3d 873, 24 879 (7th Cir. 1996)) (emphasis added). A municipal or state taxpayer may have 25 standing to pursue a “good-faith pocketbook” challenge to government conduct by 26 showing that the challenged “activity is supported by an separate tax or paid from any 27 particular appropriation or that it adds any sum whatever to the cost of conducting the 28 school.” Doremus v. Bd. of Educ., 342 U.S. 429, 434 (1952); Plans, Inc. v. – 17 – 17cv1054 1 Sacramento City Unified Sch. Dist., 319 F.3d 504, 506 (9th Cir. 2003) (“A good-faith 2 pocketbook challenge identifies a measurable sum of public funds being used to 3 further a challenged activity.”). Allegations of specific amounts of money that the 4 government spent solely on the challenged conduct are adequate. See Plans, Inc., 319 5 F.3d at 508 (taxpayer standing when plaintiff identified public monies used to operate 6 schools whose curriculum plaintiff challenged as “inherently religious” in violation 7 of the Federal and California Constitutions); Cammack v. Waihee, 932 F.2d 765, 769 8 (9th Cir. 1991) (state and municipal taxpayer standing to challenge a state’s 9 declaration of Good Friday as a holiday because “state and municipal tax revenues 10 fund the paid holiday for government employees”). 11 The Individual Plaintiffs’ allegations lack the particularity required for 12 taxpayer standing. A plaintiff lacks taxpayer standing when he or she fails to allege 13 a specific tax dollar appropriation or disbursement “spent solely” on the challenged 14 conduct. See Madison Sch. Dist. No. 321, 177 F.3d at 794 (no taxpayer standing to 15 challenge graduation prayer because plaintiff “identifies no tax dollars the defendants 16 spent solely on the graduation prayer,” but rather only “ordinary costs of graduation 17 that the school would pay whether or not the ceremony included a prayer”); Reimers 18 v. Oregon, 863 F.2d 630 (9th Cir. 1989) (no taxpayer standing because taxpayer “does 19 not challenge the disbursement of state funds on the chaplain program . . . .[i]nstead, 20 he complains about the requirement that a specific religion . . . be represented on the 21 chaplain staff”). The FAC generally alleges that “Plaintiffs object to the use of 22 taxpayer funds to enact, implement, and enforce the [] Initiative” and “to collaborate 23 and engage in formal partnerships with CAIR-SD[.]” (FAC ¶¶ 125–26.) The 24 Individual Plaintiffs further speculate about the use of generalized “taxpayer dollars.” 25 (Hasson Decl. ¶ 13; He Decl. ¶ 27; Hu Decl. ¶ 13; Steel Decl. ¶ 13; Velazquez Decl. 26 ¶ 13.) Without more, these allegations and averments which assume that taxpayer 27 funds must have been spent on the challenged conduct are insufficient. The Court 28 will not endorse this unbounded view of taxpayer standing, which would vitiate – 18 – 17cv1054 1 Article III’s standing limitation based on a plaintiff’s mere assertion that he or she is 2 a taxpayer. The Individual Plaintiffs lack taxpayer standing because they did not 3 allege a pocketbook injury. 4 b. Alleged Spiritual Harm 5 “The concept of a ‘concrete’ injury is particularly elusive in the Establishment 6 Clause context . . . . because the Establishment Clause is primarily aimed at protecting 7 non-economic interests of a spiritual, as opposed to a physical or pecuniary, nature.” 8 Vasquez v. L.A. Cty., 487 F.3d 1246, 1250 (9th Cir. 2007) (citing Suhre v. Haywood 9 Cty., 131 F.3d 1083, 1085 (4th Cir. 1997)). “In a case arising from an alleged 10 violation of the Establishment Clause, a plaintiff must show . . . that he is ‘directly 11 affected by the laws and practices against which [his] complaints are directed.’” 12 Trump v. Hawaii, 138 S. Ct. 2392, 2416 (2018) (quoting Sch. Dist. of Abington Twp. 13 v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 224 n.9 (1963)). 14 unwelcome direct contact with an allegedly offensive religious (or anti-religious)” 15 activity will support Article III standing. Vasquez, 487 F.3d at 1253. “[S]piritual harm resulting from 16 The Supreme Court has recognized that “school children and their parents, who 17 are directly affected by the laws and practices against which their complaints are 18 directed” may have standing based on “a spiritual stake in First Amendment values.” 19 Sch. Dist. of Abington Twp., 374 U.S. at 224 n.9; Vasquez, 487 F.3d at 1251. In these 20 circumstances, standing does not exist simply “because [a] complaint rest[s] on the 21 Establishment Clause . . . but because impressionable schoolchildren [a]re subjected 22 to unwelcome religious exercises or [ar]e forced to assume special burdens to avoid 23 them.” Valley Forge Christian College, 454 U.S. at 486 n.22; see also ACLU v. 24 Rabun Cty. Chamber of Commerce, Inc., 698 F.2d 1098, 1108 (11th Cir. 1983) 25 (plaintiffs had standing to challenge the location of a cross existed pursuant to Valley 26 Forge because the plaintiffs “are presently forced to locate other camping areas or to 27 have the right to use Black Rock Mountain State Park conditioned upon the 28 acceptance of unwanted religious symbolism[.]”). – 19 – 17cv1054 1 Although spiritual injury may suffice for Article III standing when the injury 2 is allegedly caused by direct contact with the challenged activity, certain harms are 3 insufficient notwithstanding a plaintiff’s invocation of the Establishment Clause. 4 Mere “psychological consequence[s] produced by observation of conduct with which 5 one disagrees” are insufficient to support standing even if “phrased in constitutional 6 terms.” Valley Forge, 454 U.S. at 473; see also id. at 487 (“Their claim that the 7 Government has violated the Establishment Clause does not provide a special license 8 to roam the country in search of governmental wrongdoing and to reveal their 9 discoveries in federal court. The federal courts were simply not constituted as 10 ombudsmen of the general welfare.”). Allegations of injury that are “no more than 11 an ‘abstract objection’” are an insufficient basis for standing. Caldwell v. Caldwell, 12 545 F.3d 1126, 1133 (9th Cir. 2008). “[A]n ‘abstract stigmatic injury’ resulting from 13 . . . outsider status” allegedly caused by government conduct with which a plaintiff 14 has not direct contact is also insufficient. See Newdow v. Lefevre, 598 F.3d 638, 643 15 (9th Cir. 2010). 16 Many of the Individual Plaintiffs’ allegations and averments of spiritual injury 17 are insufficient to cross the elusive line which separates abstract stigmatic injuries 18 from the circumstances which make a spiritual injury sufficiently concrete to invoke 19 federal jurisdiction. For example, although the Plaintiffs allege that they “perceive 20 the [] Initiative as the [] District’s endorsement of Islam and a rejection of other 21 religions” and that that Defendants’ conduct “send[s] a clear message to Student 22 Plaintiffs that they are outsiders, not full members of the school community, while 23 sending an accompanying message that Muslim students are insiders, full members 24 of the school community,” (FAC ¶¶ 120, 133, 137, 142), entirely absent from the FAC 25 are allegations of Plaintiffs’ direct contact with any aspect of the Initiative or the 26 measures which implement it. The Individual Plaintiffs’ declarations similarly claim 27 injury based on the Board’s mere adoption of the Action Steps and being “directly 28 offended” by the District’s interactions with CAIR. (Hasson Decl. ¶¶ 7, 10; He Decl. – 20 – 17cv1054 1 ¶¶ 7–18; Hu Decl. ¶¶ 7, 10; Steel Decl. ¶¶ 7, 10; Velazquez Decl. ¶¶ 7, 10.) These 2 allegations and averments appear insufficient to confer standing on the Individual 3 Plaintiffs. 4 Nevertheless, one Individual Plaintiff avers that “[i]n November 2017, my son 5 and I had direct contact with CAIR’s book, as they are available for checkout at his 6 school library.” (He Decl. ¶ 26.) The Individual Plaintiffs otherwise aver that they 7 are “spiritually affronted” by Defendants’ conduct, which they declare has chilled 8 their participation in District activities; additionally, one Plaintiff alleges that 9 Defendants’ conduct will cause the Plaintiff to remove the Plaintiff’s child from the 10 District. (Hasson Decl. ¶¶ 8–9, 11; He Decl. ¶¶ 7–18; Hu Decl. ¶¶ 8–9, 11; Steel 11 Decl. ¶¶ 8–9, 11; Velazquez Decl. ¶¶ 8–9, 11.) These averments are consistent with 12 the Individual Plaintiffs’ allegation that they do not wish for their children to receive 13 an education from a school district that, in their view, “endorse[s ] Islam” and 14 “reject[s] other religions[.]” (FAC ¶ 120.) 15 The Court finds that at least one of the Individual Plaintiffs has “such a personal 16 stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which 17 sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for 18 illumination of difficult constitutional questions.” Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228, 19 238 (1982) (citation and quotations omitted); see also Pickup v. Brown, 740 F.3d 20 1208, 1224 n.2 (9th Cir. 2013) (“[T]he presence in a suit of even one party with 21 standing suffices to make a claim justiciable.”); Akina v. Hawaii, 141 F. Supp. 3d 22 1106, 1125 (D. Haw. 2015). The Court has jurisdiction to entertain the request for 23 preliminary injunctive relief.13 24 25 26 27 28 It could be argued that the Individual Plaintiffs’ alleged spiritual harms implicate merits issues—specifically, whether Defendants have established a preference for Muslim students to the exclusion of non-Muslim students and become excessively entangled with religion through the District’s relationship with CAIR. But “standing does not depend on the merits of the plaintiff’s contention that particular conduct is illegal.” Davis v. Guam, 785 F.3d 1311, 1316 (9th Cir. 2015). Thus, the Court’s conclusion that at least one Individual Plaintiff possesses Article III standing based on the alleged spiritual harms does not mean that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of 13 – 21 – 17cv1054 1 B. 2 Mootness is “the doctrine of standing set in a time frame: the requisite personal 3 interest that must exist at the commencement of litigation (standing) must continue 4 throughout its existence (mootness).” U.S. Parole Comm’n v. Geraghty, 445 U.S. 5 388, 397 (1980). “[A]n actual controversy must be extant at all stages of review, not 6 merely at the time the complaint is filed.” Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 7 520 U.S. 43, 67 (1997) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “A case 8 becomes moot only when it is impossible for a court to grant any effectual relief 9 whatever to the prevailing party.” Knox v. SIEU, Local 1000, 567 U.S. 298, 307 10 (2012); Johnson v. Rancho Santiago Cmty. College Dist., 623 F.3d 1011, 1018 (9th 11 Cir. 2010) (internal quotations and citation omitted). A federal court must dismiss a 12 case for lack of jurisdiction if it becomes moot. Pitts v. Terrible Herbst, Inc., 653 13 F.3d 1081, 1086–87 (9th Cir. 2011). But “[a]s long as the parties have a concrete 14 interest, however small, in the outcome of the litigation, the case is not moot.” Knox, 15 567 U.S. at 307–08 (quoting Ellis v. Railway Clerks, 466 U.S. 435, 442 (1984)). 16 When assessing mootness, a court should not conflate whether a plaintiff retains an 17 interest in a case with the distinct issue of whether the plaintiff’s claims are 18 meritorious. See Al Otro Lado, Inc. v. Nielsen,—F. Supp. 3d—, 2018 WL 3969700, 19 at *7 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 20, 2018) (Bashant, J.). Mootness 20 Defendants’ mootness challenge stems from a post-FAC Board action. 21 Defendants argue that the “Board’s action to ensure religious neutrality” in the 22 Revised Policy “to prevent[] bullying” moots Plaintiffs’ case. (ECF No. 32 at 1.) 23 Plaintiffs dispute mootness on the ground that “the District is still working with CAIR 24 to ‘address Islamophobia’” and “to develop resources for ‘addressing Islamophobia.’” 25 (ECF No. 51 at 1, 3.) The Court concludes that the Revised Policy does not moot this 26 case based on voluntary cessation. Nevertheless, the Revised Policy’s rescission of 27 28 their claims. – 22 – 17cv1054 1 the CAIR-related Action Step moots Plaintiffs’ requested injunctive relief to enjoin 2 Defendants from entering into a formal partnership with CAIR. 3 1. The District’s Voluntary Cessation Does Not Moot this Case 4 Both sides recognize the voluntary cessation doctrine as the relevant 5 framework for assessing Defendants’ mootness challenge. (ECF No 26-1 at 18 n.70; 6 ECF No. 32 at 8; ECF No. 51 at 3.). Defendants argue that Plaintiffs’ claims in the 7 FAC encompass the Initiative and the Action Steps, but “th[e] plan [i.e., the 8 Initiative], and the action steps to implement [it], were clearly reversed at a Board 9 meeting on July 25, 2017.” (ECF No. 32 at 9.) Thus, according to Defendants, there 10 is no relief left for the Court to provide. 11 “A party ‘cannot automatically moot a case simply by ending its unlawful 12 conduct once sued,’ else it ‘could engage in unlawful conduct, stop when sued to have 13 the case declared moot, then pick up where [it] left off, repeating this cycle until [it] 14 achieves all [its] unlawful ends.’” United States v. Sanchez-Gomez, 138 S. Ct. 1532, 15 1537 n.* (2018) (quoting Already, LLC v. Nike, Inc., 568 U.S. 85, 91 (2013)). For 16 this reason, “voluntary cessation . . . does not ordinarily render a case moot[.]” 17 Rosebrock v. Mathis, 745 F.3d 963, 971 (9th Cir. 2014) (citation and quotations 18 omitted). In certain circumstances, however, “voluntary cessation can yield mootness 19 if a ‘stringent’ standard is met” by the defendant. Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw 20 Envtl. Servs. (TOC), Inc., 528 U.S. 167, 189 (2000). Under this standard, voluntary 21 cessation moots a case only if “(1) there is no reasonable expectation that the wrong 22 will be repeated, and (2) interim relief or events have completely and irrevocably 23 eradicated the effects of the alleged violation.” Barnes v. Healy, 980 F.2d 572, 580 24 (9th Cir. 1992). The party asserting mootness based on voluntary cessation has a 25 “heavy burden.” Friends of the Earth, 528 U.S. at 189; Rosebrock, 745 F.3d at 971. 26 Defendants’ mootness argument relies on the Rosebrock factors applicable to 27 a government defendant’s voluntary cessation “not reflected in statutory changes or . 28 . . changes to ordinances or regulations.” Rosebrock, 745 F.3d at 972. Pursuant to – 23 – 17cv1054 1 2 the Rosebrock factors, “mootness is more likely if”: 7 (1) the policy change is evidenced by language that is broad in scope and unequivocal in tone; (2) the policy change fully addresses all of the objectionable measures that [the Government] officials took against the plaintiffs in th[e] case; (3) th[e] case [in question] was the catalyst for the agency’s adoption of the new policy (4) the policy has been in place for a long time when we consider mootness; and (5) since [the policy’s] implementation the agency’s officials have not engaged in conduct similar to that challenged by the plaintiff[.] 8 Id. (internal citations omitted). In assessing these factors, courts may “presume that 9 a government entity is acting in good faith when it changes its policy[.]” Id. at 971. 10 Defendants easily satisfy the third Rosebrock factor. The Revised Policy was adopted 11 some two months after the original Complaint was filed, clearly in response to this 12 lawsuit and the backlash to the Initiative and the Action Steps. (Compare ECF No. 1 13 with LiMandri Decl. ¶ 32 Ex. 30; Anjan Decl. ¶ 6 Exs. E, F.) 3 4 5 6 14 However, even affording Defendants a presumption of good faith, Defendants, 15 have not otherwise met their heavy burden to show mootness through voluntary 16 cessation. The Rosebrock factors are largely variations of a court’s basic mootness 17 inquiry into whether “the allegedly wrongful behavior could not reasonably be 18 expected to recur[.]” City of Mesquite v. Aladdin’s Castle, Inc., 455 U.S. 283, 289 19 (1982) (emphasis added). “[I]n cases of voluntary cessation, the defendant bears a 20 ‘formidable burden’” in making this showing. R.G. v. Koller, 415 F. Supp. 2d 1129, 21 1140 (D. Haw. 2006). As is relevant here, “the form the governmental action takes 22 is critical and, sometimes, dispositive” to the voluntary cessation inquiry. Yonas 23 Fikre v. FBI, —F.3d—, 2018 WL 4495552, at *3 (9th Cir. Sept. 20, 2018). The 24 Revised Policy cannot show mootness by voluntary cessation because it leaves intact 25 the “wrongful behavior” Plaintiffs allege and seek to enjoin. 26 For one, the Initiative—the directive to “adopt a plan to address Islamophobia 27 and anti-Muslim bullying”—and its underlying purpose remain intact. Although 28 Defendants contend that the Revised Policy “rescinded” both the July 26, 2016 – 24 – 17cv1054 1 Initiative and the April 4, 2017 Action Steps (ECF No. 32 at 9), the Revised Policy 2 refers solely to the Action Steps. (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 32 Ex. 30; Anjan Decl. ¶ 6 Ex. 3 E.) By its own terms then, the Revised Policy cannot moot Plaintiffs’ challenge to 4 the Initiative. The preliminary injunction record shows that addressing Islamophobia 5 and anti-Muslim bullying remains an objective of the District. (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 36 6 Ex. 34; LiMandri Supp. Decl. ¶¶ 3–6 Exs. 53–56.) The District maintains a webpage 7 on “Addressing Bullying of Muslim students.” (ECF No. 51 at 9; LiMandri Decl. ¶ 8 25 Ex. 23.)14 The page expressly notes that “[t]he District recently announced an 9 intent to take action specifically to address the bullying of Muslim students” and “the 10 proposed action will be a part of the district’s efforts to protect all students from 11 bullying, intimidation, and discrimination.” Addressing the Bullying of Muslim 12 Students, 13 https://www.sandiegounified.org/addressing-bullying-muslim-students 14 accessed September 19, 2018); (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 25 Ex. 23).15 San Diego Unified School District, (last 15 Second, although the Revised Policy clearly clarifies the District’s intention 16 not to single out a particular religion, government “action that is not governed by clear 17 or codified procedures cannot moot a claim[.]” McCormack v. Herzog, 788 F.3d 18 1017, 1025 (9th Cir. 2015). In this case, the Revised Policy is silent on and therefore 19 In surreply, Defendants argue that “this webpage is clearly an error, and was implemented before the Board’s clear action on July 25, 2017 rescinding the Initiative.” (ECF No. 55 at 4 n.3.) Without more, the Court cannot accept this statement in a legal memorandum as fact. See Spradlin v. Lear Siegler Mgmt. Servs. Co., 926 F.2d 865, 869 (9th Cir. 1991) (“Argument by counsel serves only to elucidate the legal principles and their application to the facts at hand; it cannot create the factual predicate.”). Moreover, it strains the Court to understand how this webpage could be in “error” when it has remained on the District’s website until the date of this Order, several months after Plaintiffs submitted a printout of the webpage in February 2017 as evidence that the District remains committed to the Initiative. 14 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 The webpage is otherwise a compilation of “frequently asked questions” from concerned parents and others regarding the Initiative and the District’s efforts to address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying, for which the District provides answers. (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 25 Ex. 23.) Some of the questions on the webpage include: “why are Muslim students getting special treatment?”, “what do you do to protect non-Muslim students and groups from bullying?”, “are you implementing Sharia law?”, and “are you endorsing Islam?” (Id.) 15 – 25 – 17cv1054 1 cannot rescind many Action Steps identified in the April 4, 2017 presentation to the 2 Board. (Compare LiMandri Decl. ¶ 7 Ex. 5 at 55–57 with LiMandri Decl. ¶ 32 Ex. 3 30.) Other items covered in the Revised Policy are consistent with several Action 4 Steps. Although the Court can appreciate Defendants’ argument that the Revised 5 Policy shows the District’s religion-neutrality (ECF No. 55 at 1–8), the Court is 6 reticent to conflate the merits arguments with mootness. 7 Finally, although the Revised Policy “redirected [staff] from forming a formal 8 partnership with CAIR,” it does not sever the District’s ties with CAIR, nor prevent 9 CAIR from addressing Islamophobia in the District—relief Plaintiffs seek. The 10 District has received CAIR’s suggestions for resources. (LiMandri Decl. ¶¶ 36, 38 11 Exs. 34, 36; LiMandri Supp. Decl. ¶¶ 7, 10 Exs. 57, 60.) The District has otherwise 12 solicited information from and discussed with CAIR how to address Islamophobia. 13 (LiMandri Supp. Dec. ¶¶ 5–6 Exs. 55–56.) And CAIR participates in the IRCC, 14 which Defendants have expressly told CAIR may be used to recommend additional 15 resources and curriculum on addressing Islamophobia. (Anjan Decl. ¶¶ 9–10; Santos 16 Decl. ¶¶ 4–5; LiMandri Supp. Decl. ¶ 17 Ex. 67.) In sum, the Revised Policy is not a 17 wholesale and clear revocation of the District’s Initiative to address Islamophobia and 18 anti-Muslim bullying, the Action Steps implementing it, or reliance on CAIR to 19 support the District’s measures. There is a continuing stake in these proceedings 20 sufficient to support the Court’s jurisdiction. 21 2. The Revised Policy’s Impact on the Requested Relief 22 Although Defendants have not met their heavy burden to show that this entire 23 case is moot based on voluntary cessation, the Revised Policy nevertheless impacts 24 the relief Plaintiffs seek. First, it is clear to the Court that part of the Revised Policy 25 substantially undermines the need for, if not moots, Plaintiffs’ request for injunctive 26 relief to enjoin Defendants from creating a formal partnership with CAIR. Based on 27 its plain terms, the Revised Policy eliminates the prior Action Step regarding the 28 creation of a formal partnership between CAIR and the District to implement the – 26 – 17cv1054 1 Initiative. (Contrast LiMandri Decl. ¶ 7 Ex. 5 at 55–57 with LiMandri Decl. ¶ 32 Ex. 2 30.) The record shows that Defendants have not created a formal partnership with 3 CAIR to achieve the Initiative’s objectives, but have instead entered into a formal 4 partnership with a different organization. CAIR recognizes that the District’s action 5 forecloses a formal relationship with CAIR. (ECF No. 36.) And Plaintiffs do not 6 provide evidence showing any credible possibility that the District will enter into a 7 formal partnership with CAIR to address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying. 8 Second, although the Revised Policy does not otherwise moot Plaintiffs’ 9 requests for preliminary injunctive relief, the Revised Policy may impact the Court’s 10 preliminary injunction analysis. Although a defendant’s post-complaint conduct may 11 not moot a case such that a court lacks jurisdiction, changes in a defendant’s conduct 12 “may . . . render[] certain aspects of Plaintiffs’ originally-alleged harm no longer 13 imminent[.]” McFalls v. Purdue, No. 3:16-cv-2116-SI, 2018 WL 785866, at *10 (D. 14 Or. Feb. 8, 2018). Changes in a defendant’s conduct are therefore relevant to a court’s 15 consideration of whether the plaintiff has carried his or her burden to demonstrate a 16 likelihood of irreparable harm. See Lofton v. Verizon Wireless (VAW) LLC, 586 Fed. 17 App’x 420, 421 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing TRW, Inc. v. F.T.C., 647 F.2d 942, 953–54 18 (9th Cir. 1981)). Plaintiffs implicitly recognize the relevance of the Revised Policy 19 to the merits of their requested preliminary injunctive relief by arguing that “the 20 Revised Policy not only fails to moot this case, it is unconstitutional.” (ECF No. 51 21 at 4.) Defendants also argue about the impact of the Revised Policy on Plaintiffs’ 22 request. (ECF No. 55 at 1–8.) Accordingly, the Court finds it appropriate to consider 23 the Revised Policy in assessing whether Plaintiffs have met their burden to show that 24 they are entitled to preliminary injunctive relief. 25 II. Plaintiffs Have Not Shown They Are Entitled to a Preliminary Injunction 26 A. 27 Plaintiffs contend that they have shown a likelihood of success on the merits of 28 their constitutional claims because Defendants did not directly address Plaintiffs’ Likelihood of Success on the Merits – 27 – 17cv1054 1 briefing on this issue. (ECF No. 51 at 3.) The Court unequivocally rejects this 2 contention. Despite the vacuum in Defendants’ opposition on merits element, CAIR’s 3 amicus directly addresses it. (ECF No. 36 at 14–25.)16 4 More importantly, as the movants, it is Plaintiffs’ burden to show they are 5 entitled to a preliminary injunction.17 See Winter, 555 U.S. at 22 (“injunctive relief . 6 . . may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled to such 7 relief” (emphasis added)); see also Ctr. for Competitive Politics v. Harris, 784 F.3d 8 1307, 1312 (9th Cir. 2015) (movant “bears the heavy burden of making a ‘clear 9 showing’ that it [i]s entitled to a preliminary injunction”); Villegas Lopez v. Brewer, 10 680 F.3d 1068, 1072 (9th Cir. 2012) (preliminary injunction “should not be granted 11 unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion” (emphasis 12 added) (original emphasis omitted)). Treating as a foregone conclusion that Plaintiffs 13 have shown a likelihood of success is inconsistent with their burden. It is furthermore 14 inappropriate in this case because Plaintiffs rely on the asserted merits of their First 15 Amendment claim as the panacea for the remaining preliminary injunction elements. 16 (ECF No. 26-1 at 20 (irreparable harm), id. at 21 (balance of the hardships and public 17 interest); ECF No. 51 at 11.) The Court thus turns to Plaintiffs’ merits showing and 18 concludes that they have not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of the claims 19 on which they premise their need for preliminary injunctive relief. 20 requested relief is not warranted, the Court will not consider the parties’ arguments Since the 21 22 23 24 25 Plaintiffs suggest that the District and CAIR conspired to oppose Plaintiffs’ motion. (ECF No. 51 at 3 n.9.) Plaintiffs’ speculation is contradicted by the record. Defendants sought to file a response to CAIR’s brief to expressly argue that the Court should not consider CAIR’s constitutionality arguments based on Defendants’ view that the Revised Policy moots the case. (ECF No. 43.) Defendants did not argue constitutionality or refer to CAIR’s amicus at the Court’s July 17, 2018 oral argument on Plaintiffs’ motion. (ECF No. 60.) 16 26 17 27 28 In assessing whether Plaintiffs have satisfied their preliminary injunction burden, the Court will not “‘search for truffles’ in the evidentiary record” Plaintiffs have submitted “to discover the facts supporting Plaintiff[s’] claims.” Marketquest Grp., Inc. v. BIC Corp., 316 F. Supp. 3d 1234, 1249 n.4 (S.D. Cal. 2018). – 28 – 17cv1054 1 regarding the scope of such relief. (ECF No. 32 at 16–20; ECF No. 51 at 17–20.) 2 1. Constitutional Avoidance Doctrine 3 Invoking the constitutional avoidance doctrine, Plaintiffs argue that the Court 4 should consider their No Aid and No Preference Clause California Constitutional 5 claims before addressing their likelihood of success on their Establishment Clause 6 claim. (ECF No. 26-1 at 10.) The Court agrees in part. 7 Pursuant to the avoidance doctrine, a court avoids federal constitutional 8 determinations if a state law decisional ground is available, even one of state 9 constitutional law. Kuba v. 1-A Agric. Ass’n, 387 F.3d 850, 856 (9th Cir. 2004) 10 (“[F]ederal courts should not decide federal constitutional issues when alternative 11 grounds yielding the same relief are available”). Federal courts have invoked the 12 constitutional avoidance doctrine to address No Aid Clause claims prior to 13 consideration of First Amendment claims. See Barnes-Wallace v. City of San Diego, 14 704 F.3d 1067, 1078 (9th Cir. 2012) (addressing plaintiffs’ California Constitution 15 claims under the No Aid Clause). Thus, the Court will consider Plaintiffs’ likelihood 16 of success on their No Aid Clause claim before addressing their Establishment Clause 17 claim. 18 However, Plaintiffs’ No Preference Clause claim need not be separately 19 analyzed before assessing their First Amendment claim. It is true that there is no 20 “counterpart” to the No Preference Clause’s “language” in the Federal Constitution. 21 Vernon v. City of Los Angeles, 27 F.3d 1385, 1395 (9th Cir. 1994). The No Preference 22 Clause guarantees the “[f]ree exercise and enjoyment of religion without 23 discrimination or preference,” Cal. Const., art. I § 4, language that is absent from the 24 Federal Constitution.18 Yet, the California Supreme Court has made clear that when 25 26 18 27 28 The No Preference Clause is part of the same provision of the California Constitution whose concluding clause establishes California’s version of the Establishment Clause in the Federal Constitution. See Cal. Const., art. I § 4 (also providing that “[t]he Legislature shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”). – 29 – 17cv1054 1 government activity passes muster under the Establishment Clause, “it follows that 2 the [activity] is neither a governmental preference for or discrimination against 3 religion” and, thus, satisfies the No Preference Clause. E. Bay Asian Local Dev. Corp. 4 v. California, 13 P.3d 1122, 1139 (Cal. 2000); see also Vernon, 27 F.3d at 1396 5 (“[C]alifornia courts have recognized that an analysis of establishment claims under 6 the California Constitution frequently produces the same results as one under the 7 federal constitution.”). Specifically, a governmental action that satisfies the test of 8 Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 60 (1971), for permissibility under the federal 9 Establishment Clause necessarily passes muster under the California No Preference 10 Clause.” Barnes-Wallace, 704 F.3d at 1082 (citing E. Bay Asian Local Dev. Corp., 11 13 P.3d at 1139). 12 The coextensive means for resolving No Preference and Establishment Clause 13 claims means that the Court need not separately analyze Plaintiffs’ No Preference 14 claim. See Vernon, 27 F.3d at 1392 (“Where the state constitutional provisions are 15 coextensive with related federal constitutional provisions, [courts] may decide the 16 federal constitutional claims because that analysis will also decide the state 17 constitutional claims.”). Application of the Lemon test will determine Plaintiffs’ 18 likelihood of success on both claims. See Barnes-Wallace, 704 F.3d at 1082–84; 19 Davies v. L.A. Cty. Bd. of Supervisors, 177 F. Supp. 3d 1194, 1215 (C.D. Cal. 2016); 20 Am. Humanist Ass’n v. City of Lake Elsinore, No. 5:13-cv–00989-SVW-OPx, 2014 21 WL 791800, at *6 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 25, 2014). 22 2. The No Aid Clause Claim 23 The California Constitution’s No Aid Clause prohibits the government from 24 “mak[ing] an appropriation, or pay[ing] from any public fund whatever, or grant[ing] 25 anything to or in aid of any religious sect, church, creed, or sectarian purpose [.]” Cal. 26 Const. art. XVI § 5. “[T]he provision was intended to insure the separation of church 27 and state and to guarantee that the power, authority, and financial resources of the 28 government shall never be devoted to the advancement or support of religious or – 30 – 17cv1054 1 sectarian purposes.” California Educ. Facilities Auth. v. Priest, 526 P.2d 513, 520 2 (Cal. 1974). Because of its broad scope, the government may violate the No Aid 3 Clause even without providing a financial benefit or tangible aid by, for example, 4 lending its prestige and power” to a “sectarian purpose.” Paulson v. City of San 5 Diego, 294 F.3d 1124, 113 (9th Cir. 2002) (en banc) (quoting Feminist Women’ 6 Health Ctr., Inc. v. Philibosian, 203 Cal. Rptr. 918, 920–22, 927 (Cal. Ct. App. 7 1984)). 8 governmental hostility to religion, nor to prohibit a religious institution from 9 receiving an indirect, remote, and incidental benefit” when there exists “a secular 10 But the No Aid Clause “has never been interpreted . . . to require primary purpose.” Priest, 526 P.2d at 521. 11 Distilling a test from California state court cases, the Ninth Circuit has stated 12 that the No Aid Clause “prohibits the government from (1) granting a benefit in any 13 form (2) to any sectarian purpose (3) regardless of the government’s secular purpose 14 (4) unless the benefit is properly characterized as indirect, remote, or incidental.” 15 Paulson, 294 F.3d at 1131. “A sectarian benefit that is ancillary to a primary secular 16 purpose may qualify as ‘incidental’ if the benefit is available on an equal basis to 17 those with sectarian and those with secular objectives.” 18 involvement, whatever its form, which has the direct, immediate, and substantial 19 effect of promoting religious purposes” will not pass muster. Id. at 1129. Id. But “official 20 Although Plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction analysis regarding their No Aid 21 Clause is thin, Plaintiffs apparently believe that Defendants are violating the Clause 22 by providing financial and, more broadly, non-financial, intangible “aid” to religion. 23 (ECF No. 26-1 at 12–13.) The Court concludes that Plaintiffs have not shown that 24 they are likely to succeed on the merits of their No Aid Clause claim. 25 Financial “Aid”. Alleged No Aid Clause violations typically involve the 26 direct grant of financial aid to a religious organization. See, e.g., Barnes-Wallace, 27 704 F.3d at 1078 (property leasing); Cal. Statewide Communities Dev. Auth. v. All 28 Persons Interested in the Matter of the Validity of a Purchase Agreement, 152 P.3d – 31 – 17cv1054 1 1070 (Cal. 2007) (bond financing agreements); Priest, 526 P.2d at 513 (issuance of 2 bonds); Frohliger v. Richardson, 218 P. 497 (Cal. Ct. App. 1923) (funding for 3 restoration of San Diego Catholic mission). 4 Plaintiffs argue that Defendants are financially aiding a religion by means of a 5 “government policy” that uses “taxpayer money under the direction of a sectarian 6 organization.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 12.) Tellingly, Plaintiffs do not argue that the 7 District is directly providing taxpayer money to any sectarian organization, nor does 8 the record contain any evidence that would support such an argument. Even assuming 9 that a government policy may violate the No Aid Clause if taxpayer money is used 10 “under the direction of a sectarian organization,” (id.), Plaintiffs have not provided 11 evidence that CAIR directs or has directed the District’s use of taxpayer money 12 pursuant to the Initiative. 13 The only concrete financial expenditure Plaintiffs identify in their motion is the 14 District’s purchase of several books that CAIR recommended as part of the District’s 15 measures to address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying. (Id. at 6–7, 12.)19 16 Setting aside that the FAC does not allege this expenditure, the record shows that 17 District staff separately vetted the books pursuant to a vetting process mandated by 18 California law and District procedures. (Woehler Decl. ¶ 3 Exs. B, C.) The books 19 were purchased solely by a District employee from a third party commercial retailer. 20 (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 30 Ex. 28; Woehler Decl. ¶ 4.) And the record shows that only 21 District has made decisions regarding how the books are distributed in District 22 schools, where they are available to teachers and students on an equal basis. (Woehler 23 Decl. ¶ 4; Anjan Decl. ¶ 4; LiMandri Supp. Decl. ¶ 3 Ex. 53.) The Court finds that 24 any “benefit” to religion based on the purchase of the CAIR-recommended books is 25 26 27 28 Plaintiffs underscore that the District purchased these books despite “the $124 million budget deficit and corresponding spending freeze.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 12.) It is unclear to the Court what legal significance this has to a No Aid Clause claim and Plaintiffs provide no authority addressing it. Moreover, the preliminary injunction record shows that the books were funded in a manner that did not require a new expenditure of funds by the District. (Woehler Decl. ¶¶ 3–4.) 19 – 32 – 17cv1054 1 properly characterized as “incidental” and consistent with the No Aid Clause. 2 Non-Financial, Intangible “Aid”. Plaintiffs further argue that the Initiative 3 violates the No Aid Clause because “Defendants have placed their power, prestige, 4 and purse behind a single religion: Islam.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 13; see also FAC ¶¶ 5 191–92.) Recognizing that the No Aid Clause does not prohibit “incidental benefits” 6 to a sectarian purpose, Plaintiffs argue that the Initiative violates the No Aid Clause 7 on this more far-reaching basis because: “[t]here are no programs promoting ‘Jewish 8 culture.’ There are no lectures from priests on how to accommodate Catholic students 9 during Lent. And there are no partnerships with Evangelical Christian activists.” (Id.) 10 Plaintiffs fail to support this assertion of a No Aid Clause violation with any concrete 11 evidence or analysis tethered to the actual substance of the Initiative, its implementing 12 measures, or even the District’s treatment of other religions in general.20 This failure 13 is a sufficient basis to conclude that Plaintiffs have not met their preliminary 14 injunction burden to state a No Aid Clause claim on this basis. 15 However, the Court finds that the record does not support Plaintiffs’ assertions. 16 For one, there is no evidence to support Plaintiffs’ suggestion that the District has 17 failed to provide instructional materials for other religions and religious groups. In 18 fact, the District indicates that its instructional materials “address all major world 19 religions[.]” (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 32 Ex. 30; see also Woehler Decl. ¶ 5; Anjan Decl. ¶ 20 4.) Plaintiffs have not controverted this evidence. Second, the record contradicts 21 Plaintiffs’ suggestion that the District has a “partnership” with CAIR in connection 22 with the Initiative. The District expressly rejected a formal partnership with CAIR. 23 (Contrast LiMandri Decl. ¶ 7 Ex. 5 at 55–57 with LiMandri Decl. ¶ 32 Ex. 30.) CAIR 24 acknowledges in its amicus that there is no partnership between it and the District. 25 26 27 28 20 The Court observes that Plaintiffs’ failure to provide concrete analysis through application of the law to the facts of this case pervades the preliminary injunction motion. (ECF No. 26-1.) It is not the Court’s duty to make legal arguments for Plaintiffs that they do not raise and the Court will not do so. See, e.g., Blankenship v. Cox, No. 3:05-CV-00357-RAM, 2007 WL 844891, at *12 (D. Nev. Mar. 19, 2007) (“[I]t is not the court’s duty to do [a litigant’s] legal research.”). – 33 – 17cv1054 1 (ECF No. 36 at 14.) Third, and relatedly, the record shows that the District has in fact 2 entered into a formal partnership with the ADL. (Villegas Decl. ¶ 3 Ex. J.) Plaintiffs 3 recognize that the ADL “is a national, nonprofit organization that works to stop anti- 4 Semitism, discrimination, and bigotry[.]” (FAC ¶ 45.) It is simply not accurate for 5 Plaintiffs to suggest that the District excludes organizations with focuses on other 6 religions or religious groups from the District. Fourth, there is no evidence to support 7 Plaintiffs’ belief that the District “lavishes” Muslim students with “benefits” not 8 received by students of other religions. The text of many of the Action Steps are 9 framed to update District resources and recognition of Islam and Muslim culture. 10 This framing strongly suggests that the District sought to make its offerings on par 11 with what it already provides students of other religions. 12 More fundamentally, Plaintiffs’ zero-sum view of who “benefits” from the 13 District’s efforts to address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying is not persuasive. 14 The Initiative aims to address the behavior and conduct of “Islamophobia” and “anti- 15 Muslim bullying.” (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 4 Ex. 2; FAC ¶ 30.) There is nothing inherent 16 in addressing such behavior and conduct that limits any benefit to solely those who 17 are Muslim. The evil that measures like the Initiative seek to address can harm more 18 than those who are directly targeted. 19 In this case, the District has sought to address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim 20 by updating certain instructional materials and resources regarding Islam and Muslim 21 culture for all staff and students. As CAIR persuasively asserts, any benefit from 22 these measures “accrues to all of the students at the School District by learning about 23 the world,” including “about the culture of a growing” segment of the Nation. (ECF 24 No. 36 at 24.) Even if the District’s measures could be construed to provide a 25 “benefit” to Muslim students, the Revised Policy largely blunts Plaintiffs’ claims 26 about an unequal benefit or “special treatment” for Muslim students. The Revised 27 Policy expressly states that: “the District’s anti-bullying program is developed to 28 comprehensively address the issue of bullying of all students through the No Place – 34 – 17cv1054 1 for Hate program” and “[t]he District’s instructional materials are and will continue 2 to be consistent with state standards which address all major world religions in the 3 context of world history and culture (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 32 Ex. 30.) Any alleged 4 “benefit” that the Initiative is alleged to have provided Muslim students in the District 5 is presently available on an equal basis. Accordingly, the Court concludes that 6 Plaintiffs haven not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of their No Aid 7 Clause claim, nor have they have shown a need for preliminary injunctive relief on 8 this basis. 9 3. Establishment Clause and No Preference Clause Claims 10 The Establishment Clause provides that “Congress shall make no law 11 respecting an establishment of religion[.]” U.S. const., amend. I. “The clearest 12 command of the Establishment Clause is that one religious denomination cannot be 13 officially preferred over another.” Larson, 456 U.S. at 244. This means that 14 “government may not promote or affiliate itself with any religious doctrine or 15 organization, may not discriminate among persons on the basis of their religious 16 beliefs and practices, may not delegate a governmental power to a religious 17 institution, and may not involve itself too deeply in such an institution’s affairs.” Cty. 18 of Allegheny v. Am. Civil Liberties Union, 492 U.S. 573, 590 (1989), abrogated on 19 other grounds by Town of Greece v. Galloway, 134 S. Ct. 1811 (2014); see also 20 Gillette v. United States, 401 U.S. 437, 450 (1971) (the government may not 21 “abandon[] secular purposes in order to put an imprimatur on one religion, or on 22 religion as such, or to favor adherents of any sect or religious organization”). 23 In the context of elementary and secondary schools, the values secured by the 24 Establishment Clause are especially important. “The Court has been particularly 25 vigilant in monitoring compliance with the Establishment Clause in elementary and 26 secondary schools.” Edwards, 482 U.S. at 583–84. Courts “recognize that minors’ 27 beliefs and actions are often more vulnerable to outside influence.” Freedom From 28 Religion Found., Inc. v. Chino Valley Unified Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 896 F.3d 1132, – 35 – 17cv1054 1 1144 (9th Cir. 2018) (citing Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577, 593–94 (1991)). “Because 2 children’s ‘experience is limited,’ their ‘beliefs consequently are the function of 3 environment as much as of free and voluntary choice.’” Id. at 1145–46 (quoting Sch. 4 Dist. of City of Grand Rapids v. Ball, 473 U.S. 373, 390 (1985), overruled on other 5 grounds by Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203 (1997)). Thus, courts have found 6 Establishment Clause violations when, for example, public schools (1) invite clergy 7 to pray at formal graduation ceremonies, (2) perform daily readings of the Bible or 8 recitations of the Lord’s Prayer, (3) post the Ten Commandments in every classroom, 9 or (4) begin school assemblies with prayers. Lee, 505 U.S. at 577 (clergy prayer); 10 Sch. Dist. of Abington Twp., 374 U.S. at 203 (Bible readings and Lord’s Prayer); Stone 11 v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1981) (Ten Commandments); Collins v. Chandler Unified 12 Sch. Dist., 644 F.2d 759 (9th Cir. 1991) (school assembly prayer). 13 But “[t]he Establishment Clause does not compel the government to purge from 14 the public sphere all that in any way partakes of the religious.” Van Orden v. Perry, 15 545 U.S. 677, 699 (2005) (Breyer, J., concurring). In the context of public schools, 16 which prepare students to live in a pluralistic society, “the Establishment Clause does 17 not prohibit schools from teaching about religion.” Altman v. Bedford Cent. Sch. 18 Dist., 245 F.3d 49, 76 (2d Cir. 2001) (citing Stone, 449 U.S. at 42). And the 19 Establishment Clause does “not mean that the Constitution prohibits public schools 20 from making any mention of religion when teaching a secular lesson about pluralism 21 and tolerance.” Skoros v. City of New York, 437 F.3d 1, 31 (2d Cir. 2006). 22 With these Establishment Clause principles in mind, the Court turns to 23 Plaintiffs’ arguments. Plaintiffs argue that they are likely to succeed on the merits of 24 their Establishment Clause and No Preference Clause claims based on two grounds: 25 (1) the Initiative establishes a religious preference in favor of Islam and (2) the 26 Initiative fails the Lemon test. The Court concludes that Plaintiffs have not shown 27 that they are likely to succeed on their Establishment Clause claim on either basis. 28 – 36 – 17cv1054 1 a. Religious Preference Argument 2 “[W[hen it is claimed that a denominational preference exists, the initial inquiry 3 is whether the law facially differentiates among religions. If no such preference 4 exists, we proceed to apply the customary three-pronged Establishment Clause 5 inquiry derived from Lemon[].” Hernandez v. Comm’r, 490 U.S. 680, 695 (1989) 6 (citing Larson, 456 U.S. at 228, Lemon, 403 U.S. at 602); see also Corp. of Presiding 7 Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327, 339 8 (1987) (“Larson indicates that laws discriminating among religions are subject to 9 strict scrutiny, and that laws ‘affording a uniform benefit to all religions’ should be 10 analyzed under Lemon.” (emphasis in original)). If a government policy grants a 11 denominational preference, the “rule must be invalidated unless it is justified by a 12 compelling governmental interest and unless it is closely fitted to further that 13 interest[.]” Larson, 456 U.S. at 247. 14 Determining whether Plaintiffs are likely to prove an Establishment Clause 15 violation on the ground that the Initiative is a religious preference may “require[] an 16 equal protection mode of analysis.” Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, 17 508 U. S. 520, 540 (1993) (quoting Walz v. Tax Comm’n of New York City, 397 U.S. 18 664, 696 (1970)). “Relevant evidence includes, among other things, the historical 19 background of the decision under challenge, the specific series of events leading to 20 the enactment or official policy in question, and the legislative or administrative 21 history, including contemporaneous statements made by members of the 22 decisionmaking body.” Id. at 540; see also Trump, 138 S. Ct. at 2434 (Sotomayor, 23 J., dissenting). A government action that “targets religious conduct for distinctive 24 treatment or advances legitimate governmental interests only against conduct with a 25 religious motivation will survive strict scrutiny only in rare cases.” Church of Lukumi 26 Babalu Aye, Inc., 508 U. S. at 546. 27 28 i. The Initiative Does Not Distinguish Among Religions Plaintiffs aver that the Initiative violates the Establishment Clause because it – 37 – 17cv1054 1 “facially classifies” on the basis of religion to grant a religious preference “under the 2 guise of th[e] anti-bullying program,” lacks a compelling government interest, and 3 the Initiative’s implementing policies are not narrowly tailored.21 (ECF No. 26-1 at 4 13–16.) Focusing on the Initiative22, Plaintiffs have not shown that it distinguishes 5 among religions to establish a preference for Islam and Muslim students. 6 The gravamen of Plaintiffs’ preference argument is that the Initiative is 7 analogous to the statute invalidated in Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228 (1982). Larson 8 concerned a Minnesota statute, § 309.515 subd. 1(b), which “impos[ed] certain 9 registration and reporting requirements upon only those religious organizations that 10 solicit more than fifty per cent of their funds from nonmembers[.]” Id. at 230. Section 11 309.515 had at one point exempted all religious organizations from Minnesota’s 12 registration requirements, but the Minnesota Legislature subsequently added the fifty 13 per cent rule. Id. at 231–32. Recognizing that “no State can ‘pass laws which aid one 14 religion’ over another,” the Supreme Court held that the fifty per cent rule “clearly 15 grants a denominational preference” because it “makes explicit and deliberate 16 distinctions between different religious organizations.” Id. at 246–47 & n.23. 17 Despite Plaintiffs’ belief that this case is indistinguishable from Larson, neither 18 in the FAC, nor in the preliminary injunction motion do Plaintiffs attempt to 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 21 As a pleading matter, Plaintiffs expressly allege that the Initiative lacks a compelling government interest and it is not narrowly tailored as part of their Free Exercise Clause and Fourteenth Amendment claims—not their Establishment Clause claim. (Compare FAC ¶¶ 159–161 (Free Exercise claim allegations) and id. ¶¶ 166–68 (Fourteenth Amendment claim allegations) with id. ¶¶ 146–155 (Establishment Clause claim).) Notwithstanding the absence of these allegations from Plaintiffs’ Establishment Clause claim, the Court will consider Plaintiffs’ argument. Plaintiffs’ argument that Defendants have “facially classifie[d] among religions” has shifted throughout the course of the preliminary injunction briefing. Plaintiffs initially asserted that “the Policy [i.e., the Action Steps] “facially classifies among religions,” thus subjecting the Action Steps to strict scrutiny they could not survive. (ECF No. 26-1 at 13–15.) Faced with Defendants’ mootness challenge based on the Revised Policy, Plaintiffs now argue that “[e]ven though the Revised Policy may be facially neutral, Defendants cannot hide behind it” because “it was dictated entirely by the Initiative . . . enacted to discriminate in favor of Muslim students.” (ECF No 51 at 5 (emphasis added).) Taking Plaintiffs’ distinctions at face value, the Court focuses on the Initiative. 22 – 38 – 17cv1054 1 undertake a meaningful textual analysis of the Initiative to show or explain how this 2 is so. (See generally FAC; ECF No. 26-1 at 13–14.) It bears setting forth the text of 3 the Initiative: to “take action to direct the superintendent to bring back to the board a 4 plan to address Islamophobia and the reports of bullying of Muslim students.” 5 (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 4 Ex. 2; FAC ¶ 30.) The Court need not look beyond the FAC to 6 ascertain the meaning of the operative terms. Plaintiffs define “Islamophobia” as “the 7 ‘fear, hatred, or mistrust of Muslims or of Islam.’” (FAC ¶ 31 (citing American 8 Heritage Dictionary (5th ed. 2017).) Although the term “bullying” may be susceptible 9 to different definitions, Plaintiffs appear to endorse the United States Department of 10 Health and Human Services’ definition: “aggressive behavior that is intentional and 11 that involves an imbalance of power or strength.” (Id. ¶¶ 24, 42.) Based on Plaintiffs’ 12 own definitions, the Initiative’s focus is not religion, but on conduct and behavior. 13 Plaintiffs have not argued, nor shown that this conduct or behavior is attributable to a 14 particular religion or faith such that the Initiative’s focus on these terms “makes 15 explicit and deliberate distinctions between different religious organizations.” 16 Larson, 456 U.S. at 246–47 & n.23. Nor does the Court believe that Plaintiffs would 17 reasonably contend that such behavior or conduct is the province of a particular 18 religion or sect. 19 As far as the Court can discern, the Initiative’s plain text “does not differentiate 20 among sects.” Hernandez, 490 U.S. at 695. Because the Initiative does not draw 21 distinctions on the basis of religion, it would be proper for the Court to proceed to the 22 Lemon test. Id. (indicating that if a law does not facially discriminate on the basis of 23 religion, “then the Court applies the three-pronged test announced in Lemon[]”). 24 ii. Plaintiffs’ Strict Scrutiny Arguments Are Unavailing 25 Even if the Initiative triggers the strict scrutiny under which Plaintiffs contend 26 the Initiative “withers” (ECF No. 26-1 at 13), Plaintiffs have not made a clear showing 27 that the Initiative lacks a compelling interest or that the District’s measures have not 28 been narrowly tailored. – 39 – 17cv1054 1 Compelling Interest. Plaintiffs initially argue that the Initiative lacks a 2 compelling interest characterizing the relevant interest as the District’s “amorphous” 3 intention to “eliminat[e] fear faced by children.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 14.) Perhaps 4 realizing that this characterization of the relevant interest is not a fair one and in 5 response to CAIR’s amicus which highlights the particular dangers bullying may pose 6 for the educational environment (ECF No. 36 at 6–7, 8–9), Plaintiffs concede that 7 “protecting students from bullying [is] a valid concern[.]”23 (ECF No. 50 at 4.) The 8 Court accepts that addressing bullying of students, including bullying directed at 9 students of a particular background, is a “valid” government interest.24 10 Plaintiffs nevertheless argue that Defendants lacked the requisite basis to make 11 this interest “compelling” in the context of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying. 12 According to Plaintiffs, Defendants have not shown that there is an “actual problem 13 in need of solving.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 15.) Specifically, Plaintiffs contend that “there 14 is not a scintilla of credible evidence that ‘Islamophobia’ . . . runs rampant in District 15 schools,” but rather, in Plaintiffs’ view, “Defendants have relied solely on specious 16 student surveys and testimonials that CAIR had provided as part of its lobbying for 17 the Initiative.” (Id.; see also ECF No. 50 at 4.) Plaintiffs do not provide evidence or 18 persuasive arguments to support their contentions. 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 23 As Plaintiffs recognize, California law requires school districts to adopt policies that prohibit religion-based “discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 2–3 (citing 5 Cal. Code Reg. § 4621).) California law expressly addresses bullying of students as relevant to education. See Cal. Educ. Code § 201 (recognizing “an urgent need to prevent and respond to acts of hate violence and bias-related incidents that are occurring at an increasing rate in California’s public schools”); Cal. Educ. Code § 234(b) (“It is the policy of the State of California to ensure that all local educational agencies continue to work to reduce discrimination, harassment, violence, intimidation, and bullying. It is further the policy of the state to improve pupil safety at schools and the connections between pupils and supportive adults, schools, and communities.”). 24 Plaintiffs acknowledge that the government has a valid interest in addressing bullying that targets individuals of a particular religion or race. In the FAC, Plaintiffs fault Defendants for their alleged failure to develop initiatives on “anti-Semitism bullying” or “religion-based, Asian American bullying[.]” (FAC ¶¶ 45–49.) Thus, by Plaintiffs’ own account, District policies can account for bullying directed at students of a particular background. – 40 – 17cv1054 1 Although Plaintiffs allege that the District relied on “prepared student 2 testimony” of Muslim students when it decided to address Islamophobia and anti- 3 Muslim bullying (FAC ¶ 123), evidence substantiating the suggestion of fabricated 4 testimony is entirely absent from the preliminary injunction record. Plaintiffs have 5 not otherwise articulated in their briefing or at oral argument on what concrete basis 6 they believe the reports and testimony by Muslim students on which the District 7 allegedly relied to adopt the Initiative are not credible. 8 Plaintiffs’ challenge to the District’s alleged reliance on the CAIR Survey as 9 methodologically flawed is also unpersuasive. (ECF No. 26-1 at 15 n.15.) Based on 10 Plaintiffs’ allegations, the Court understands the survey’s alleged flaws to be that: (1) 11 the survey used a definition of bullying that they believe is “dissimilar” from the 12 definitions used by HHS or identified in the California Education Code and (2) CAIR 13 “did not distribute a comparative survey to non-Muslim students to validate its 14 findings.”25 (FAC ¶¶ 40, 42–43.) Plaintiffs’ motion, however, curiously omits 15 evidence based on which the Court can assess Plaintiffs’ assertions. Plaintiffs fail to 16 provide a copy of the CAIR survey and they do not introduce any evidence showing 17 its alleged methodological flaws. Contrary to Plaintiffs’ assertions about the CAIR 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Plaintiffs’ allegation that the CAIR survey is not “validated” is inconsistent with Plaintiffs’ reliance on two student surveys and reports in the FAC to allege that the District has failed to protect students of other backgrounds. (FAC ¶¶ 45 (the “ADL Audit”), 48 (the “AAPI Task Force Report”).) See Anti-Defamation League, ADL Audit: U.S. Anti-Semitic Incidents Surged in 2016–17 (2017), https://www.adl.org/sites/default/files/documents/Anti-Semitic%20Audit%20Print_vf2.pdf [herein “ADL Audit”]; see Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Bullying Prevention Task Force, Task Force Report (2014–2016), https://sites.ed.gov/aapi/files/2015/02/AAPI-BullyingPrevention-Task-Force-Report-2014-2016.pdf [herein “AAPI Task Force Report”] Taking without endorsing Plaintiffs’ view of the appropriate measure of validation, neither the AAPI Task Force Report, nor the ADL Audit were “validated” against non-Asians or non-Jewish individuals. The ADL Audit is a compilation of nation-wide reports of anti-Semitic incidents from various sources, including “victims, law enforcement and community leaders and evaluated by ADL’s professional staff[.]” ADL Audit, at 2. More troubling for Plaintiffs’ argument, the AAPI Task Force Report on which Plaintiffs rely expressly states: “[t]he survey and the listening sessions did not generate statistically reliable results, and the reader should not use this information to draw definitive conclusions about bullying of AAPI students as a whole.” AAPI Task Force Report, at 4 (emphasis added). 25 – 41 – 17cv1054 1 survey’s flaws then, this is not a case in which “significant, admitted flaws in 2 methodology” undermine the existence of a compelling interest. See Video Software 3 Dealers Ass’n v. Schwarzenegger, 556 F.3d 950 (9th Cir. 2009), aff’d sub nom. Brown 4 v. Entm’t Merchants Ass’n, 564 U.S. 786 (2011). More broadly, Plaintiffs provide no 5 authorities showing that the District would need a validated study of identity-based 6 bullying, or even bullying more generally, in order for District administrators and 7 staff to develop policies to address student reports of such behavior. 8 Finally, Plaintiffs provide no persuasive explanation for the basic premise 9 underlying their argument that the District lacks a compelling interest: that the District 10 may not take into account Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying that occurs outside 11 the District. In opposing Plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction motion, the District makes 12 clear that it adopted the Initiative “[i]n the wake of the increased instances of 13 Islamophobia following Donald Trump’s election campaign.” (ECF No. 32 at 2.) 14 The Court observes that CAIR has offered more detailed insight into this point. (ECF 15 No. 36 at 5–6.) Plaintiffs do not seriously contend that nationwide information about 16 identity-based bullying and harassment is not a relevant consideration. Plaintiffs rely 17 on nationwide surveys of anti-Semitism and bullying of Asian-American students, 18 including religion-based bullying of Asian-American students. (FAC ¶¶ 45–46, 48); 19 see also ADL Audit; AAPI Task Force Report. The Court is left to wonder what makes 20 Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying different. When the Court pressed Plaintiffs 21 at oral argument about why the District cannot take into account national events or 22 reports about Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying, Plaintiffs’ counsel speculated 23 that such new was “fake news.”26 This speculation by Plaintiffs’ counsel is 24 25 26 27 28 26 The Supreme Court has alluded to references to Muslims and Islam during the 2016 election campaign. See Trump, 138 S. Ct. at 2417 (Roberts, C.J., maj. op.) (“For example, while a candidate on the campaign trail, the President published a ‘Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration’ that called for a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.’”); id. (“Then-candidate Trump also stated that ‘Islam hates us’ and asserted that the United States was ‘having problems with Muslims coming into the country.’”). Justice Sotomayor has discussed the campaign in greater – 42 – 17cv1054 1 insufficient. 2 Narrowly Tailored. The Initiative is not self-executing—it requires a plan to 3 address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying. (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 4 Ex. 2; FAC ¶ 4 30.) The Action Steps reflect the District’s initial plan to do so and the Revised Policy 5 provides an additional gloss on how the District seeks to address Islamophobia and 6 anti-Muslim bullying. 7 The Court turns first to a narrow tailoring argument Plaintiffs raise that applies 8 equally to the Action Steps and the Revised Policy. According to Plaintiffs, “narrow 9 tailoring requires the District to show that the Initiative ‘will in fact alleviate’ the 10 alleged Islamophobia in a ‘direct and material way.’” (ECF No. 26-1 at 16 (quoting 11 Turner Broadcasting Sys., Inc. v. FCC, 512 U.S. 622, 644 (1994).) Plaintiffs argue 12 that the District’s plan to address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying fails this 13 requirement because “the District already has an anti-bullying department” and 14 “already has state-mandated policies in place to address student bullying and 15 discrimination.” (Id.) The argument is unpersuasive. Plaintiffs have submitted a 16 copy of the District’s “Administrative Procedure” for addressing “Bullying and 17 Intimidation,” which became effective in November 2011 and which the District 18 revised in August 2015. (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 40 Ex. 38.) The procedure is silent on 19 religion-based bullying, let alone any type of identity-based bullying. (Id.) As even 20 Plaintiffs recognize, religion-based bullying is reported to have occurred in the 21 District. (FAC ¶ 26; ECF No. 26-1 at 3; LiMandri Decl. ¶ 5 Ex. 3, id. ¶ 6, Ex. 4.) It 22 is thus unclear to the Court on what basis Plaintiffs’ believe the District’s pre-existing 23 bullying procedure limits the measures the District may take to address religion-based 24 bullying. 25 Second, Plaintiffs argue that the Action Steps are not narrowly tailored because 26 the District failed to consider “constitutionally-mandated” religion-neutral 27 28 detail. See id. at 2435–49 (Sotomayor, J., dissenting). – 43 – 17cv1054 1 alternatives. (ECF No. 26-1 at 16); Parents Involved in Cmty. Sch. v. Seattle Sch. 2 Dist. No. 1, 551 U.S. 701, 735 (2007). The Court is at a loss to understand how the 3 District could meaningfully address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying through 4 measures that do not account for the fact that, by Plaintiffs’ own definitions, 5 “Islamophobia” and “anti-Muslim bullying” target an individual precisely because he 6 or she is Muslim (or perceived to be). Even taking Plaintiffs’ argument on its own 7 terms, however, Plaintiffs do not provide evidence showing that the District failed to 8 consider religion-neutral alternatives or that the Initiative was built “from the ground 9 up with CAIR.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 16.) 10 Turning to the Action Steps, many of them do not in fact use the terms “Islam” 11 or “Muslim,” or even refer to any associated religious beliefs or practices. (LiMandri 12 Decl. ¶ 7 Ex. 5 at 55–57; Anjan Decl. ¶ 3 Ex. A at 8–10; FAC ¶¶ 53–55.) There are 13 of course several Action Steps which do refer to Islam and Muslims—steps which the 14 Plaintiffs emphasize to raise the specter of the Initiative’s unconstitutionality. (FAC 15 ¶¶ 53–55; LiMandri Decl. ¶ 7 Ex. 5 at 55–57 (highlighting certain Action Steps).) 16 These Action Steps direct the District “to review District calendars to ensure Muslim 17 holidays are recognized,” “provide a series of professional development opportunities 18 for staff related to awareness and advocacy for Muslim culture,” “provide practical 19 tools for educators regarding Islamic religious practices and accommodations in 20 schools,” “provide resources and strategies to support students during the upcoming 21 month of Ramadan,” and “review and vet materials related to Muslim culture and 22 history at the Instructional Media Center[.]” (Id.) 23 To the extent Plaintiffs believe that the District’s mere references to “Islam” or 24 “Muslims” are an unconstitutional endorsement of a religion, they impute to the 25 Establishment Clause a breadth that is not tenable in a pluralistic society. See Texas 26 Monthly, Inc. v. Bullock, 489 U.S. 1, 10 (1989) (“Nor have we required that legislative 27 categories make no explicit reference to religion. . . .Government need not resign itself 28 to ineffectual diffidence because of exaggerated fears of contagion of or by – 44 – 17cv1054 1 religion[.]”); see also Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 70 (1985) (O’Connor, J., 2 concurring) (“The endorsement test does not preclude government from 3 acknowledging religion or from taking religion into account in making law and 4 policy.”). Importantly, there is no evidence that the District does not recognize other 5 religious holidays and there is no evidence that the District is not receptive to or lacks 6 instructional materials about other religions and cultural groups. Without such 7 evidence, the Court cannot conclude that the District’s use of the terms “Muslim” and 8 “Islam” is for a purpose other than recognizing that it serves a student population 9 which also includes Muslim students. 10 More fundamentally, several of the Action Steps which use the terms “Muslim” 11 and “Islam” are entirely consistent with religious accommodations to which, like 12 students of any religious faith, Muslim students are entitled as a matter of government 13 neutrality “in the face of religious differences.”27 See Church of God (Worldwide, 14 Texas Region) v. Amarillo Independent Sch. Dist., 511 F. Supp. 613, 618 (N.D. Tex. 15 1981), aff’d by, 670 F.2d 46 (5th Cir. 1982). The District’s decision to “ensure” that 16 Muslim holidays were included on the District-wide calendar clearly reflects that such 17 holidays were inadequately recognized beforehand. There is nothing nefarious about 18 the District taking action to ensure the adequacy of its recognition of such holidays. 19 And certain Action Steps which aim to increase awareness of “Muslim culture” are 20 consistent with “the entirely nonreligious (i.e., secular) and commendable purpose of 21 exposing students to different cultural attitudes and outlooks.” Grove v. Mead Sch. 22 Dist. No. 354, 753 F.2d 1528, 1539 (9th Cir. 1985) (Canby, J., concurring); see also 23 Plaintiffs argue that CAIR “disseminate[s] propaganda to teachers and students, including brochures about Islamic religious practices and Muslim student accommodations.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 5.) Despite pejoratively referring to the informational materials as “propaganda,” the materials Plaintiffs submit are specifically concerned with the rights of students to religious accommodations and providing teachers and administrators with information relevant to provision of such accommodations. (LiMandri Decl. ¶¶ 13–14 Exs. 11–12.) It is unclear to the Court how the provision of information on religious accommodations violates the Establishment Clause or how the District could permissibly adopt a policy which limits which students receive such information without in turn classifying students on the basis of their (perceived) religion. 27 24 25 26 27 28 – 45 – 17cv1054 1 Lee, 505 U.S. at 638 (1992) (Scalia, J., dissenting) (“[M]aintaining respect for the 2 religious observances of others is a fundamental civil virtue that government 3 (including the public schools) can and should cultivate[.]”) 4 Even if certain Action Steps could be construed as not being “religion-neutral,” 5 the District’s Revised Policy precisely aims for the religion-neutrality Plaintiffs 6 believe is constitutionally required for the Initiative’s implementing measures to be 7 narrowly tailored. (Anjan Decl. ¶ 6 Exs. E, F; LiMandri Decl. ¶ 32 Ex. 30.) The 8 Revised Policy expressly directs the creation of “[a] calendar of observances” which 9 “shall include holidays of all faiths for the purpose of enhancing mutual 10 understanding and respect among the various religious, ethnic and cultural groups, 11 and to assist staff to be sensitive to such holidays in the scheduling of events.” 12 (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 32 Ex. 30.) And the Revised Policy affirms that “[t]he District’s 13 instructional materials are and will continue to be consistent with state standards 14 which address all major world religions in the context of world history and culture.” 15 (Id.) This affirmation is otherwise supported by the record, which shows that the 16 District’s materials on Islam and Muslim culture are part of an intercultural set of 17 materials. (Woehler Decl. ¶ 5; Anjan Decl. ¶ 4.) 18 arguments are not persuasive. 19 b. Plaintiffs’ narrow tailoring The Lemon Test 20 The Lemon test primarily governs judicial evaluation of whether a particular 21 government activity violates the Establishment Clause. Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 22 602, 612–13 (1971); Freedom From Religion Found., Inc., 896 F.3d at 1149 (“The 23 Lemon test remains the dominant mode of Establishment Clause analysis.”). In order 24 to pass constitutional muster under the Lemon test, the challenged action must satisfy 25 each of three elements: it must (1) have a secular purpose, (2) have a primary effect 26 which neither advances nor inhibits religion, and (3) not foster excessive state 27 entanglement with religion. Lemon, 403 U.S. at 612–13; see also Edwards v. 28 Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 583 (1987) (“State action violates the Establishment Clause – 46 – 17cv1054 1 if it fails to satisfy any of these prongs.”); Newdow v. Rio Linda Union Sch. Dist., 597 2 F.3d 1007, 1076–77 (9th Cir. 2010). 3 Plaintiffs allege that Defendants have violated the Establishment Clause 4 because their “policies, practices, and procedures convey an impermissible, 5 government-sponsored approval of, and preference for, Islam” and the policies 6 “send[] a clear message to Plaintiffs that they are outsiders, not full members of the 7 school and political communities because they are not Muslim[.]” (FAC ¶¶ 149, 152– 8 53.) Plaintiffs further allege that both the Initiative and Defendants’ collaboration 9 with CAIR lack a valid secular purpose, have the primary effect of advancing and 10 endorsing a religion and religious practices, and create excessive entanglement with 11 religion. (Id. ¶¶ 150–51.) In a similar vein, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants have 12 violated the California Constitution’s No Preference Clause because they have 13 “granted preferential treatment to Muslim students because of their religion” and 14 Defendants’ relationship with CAIR “conveys a preference for a particular sectarian 15 group[.]” (Id. ¶¶ 174–75.) The Court finds that Plaintiffs have not made a clear 16 showing that they are likely to succeed on the merits of these claims based on the 17 Lemon test. 18 Purpose. “Under the first prong of Lemon, we consider whether the challenged 19 government act is grounded in a secular purpose.” Vasquez, 487 F.3d at 1255 (citing 20 Lemon, 403 U.S. at 612). To determine “purpose” under the Lemon test, the “starting 21 point” is the government policy’s “language itself.” Newdow, 597 F.3d at 1024; 22 Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights v. City & Cty. of San Francisco, 624 23 F.3d 1043, 1056 (9th Cir. 2010) (“[A] court must, in deciding whether a government 24 action violates the Establishment Clause, read the words of the government 25 enactment.”). Evaluation of the government’s purpose is not limited to the text of a 26 government policy. “Context is critical when evaluating the government’s conduct.” 27 Johnson v. Poway Unified Sch. Dist., 658 F.3d 954, 958–59, 971–75 (9th Cir. 2011). 28 And so, “[i]n evaluating purpose, we regularly take into account the statements of – 47 – 17cv1054 1 government officials involved in a policy’s enactment.” Freedom From Religion 2 Found., Inc., 896 F.3d at 1149. Generally, in assessing the purpose, courts “must 3 defer to the government’s articulation of a secular purpose” so long as the articulation 4 is sincere. Newdow, 597 F.3d 1019. 5 Plaintiffs argue that “the Initiative’s purpose is sectarian” because its “plain 6 language makes it obvious that Defendants have implemented the Initiative for the 7 unlawful purpose of favoring a particular religious sect.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 17.) 8 Plaintiffs do not actually point to any language in the Initiative that establishes a 9 religious purpose. The Court has already identified the Initiative’s textual focus on 10 “Islamophobia” and the “bullying of Muslim students” and discussed why these terms 11 are not religious. (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 7 Ex. 5 at 55–57; Anjan Decl. ¶ 3 Ex. A at 8–10; 12 FAC ¶¶ 53–55.) The District has also acknowledged that it adopted the Initiative to 13 address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying in the wake of the 2016 presidential 14 election. This purpose is corroborated by other evidence Plaintiffs have submitted. 15 (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 16 Ex. 14 (“In the heat of the 2016 campaign season, San Diego 16 Unified board members voted to put together a plan to stop Islamophobia in 17 schools.”).) The Court credits the District’s statement as sincere and plausible given 18 the Initiative’s express text and presentation regarding the Action Steps, which 19 expressly frames the Action Steps in relation to Islamophobia and anti-Muslim 20 bullying. See Newdow, 597 U.S. at 1035 (noting that courts should be “reluctant to 21 attributable unconstitutional motives” when there is “a plausible secular purpose” 22 (citing Mueller v. Allen, 463 U.S. 388, 394–95 (1983)). 23 Defendants’ approval of the Revised Policy should clear any remaining doubt 24 about the District’s secular purpose. “It is well-established that governmental actions 25 primarily aimed at avoiding violations of the Establishment Clause have a legitimate 26 secular purpose.” Vasquez, 487 F.3d at 1256; Vernon, 27 F.3d at 1397. Although 27 Plaintiffs seek to discount the Revised Policy as a “religious gerrymander” built 28 around CAIR (ECF No. 51 at 8, 16), Plaintiffs’ argument is unsupported by the – 48 – 17cv1054 1 preliminary injunction record. The District has offered credible evidence that its post- 2 Revised Policy interactions with CAIR sought to address the damage caused by the 3 backlash to the Initiative and this lawsuit. (Anjan Decl. ¶ 8 Ex. K; Sharp Decl. ¶¶ 4– 4 5; Anjan Decl. ¶ 9; Santos Decl. ¶ 4.) CAIR’s involvement through the IRCC is 5 otherwise consistent with the District’s secular purpose in adopting the Revised 6 Policy. 7 Primary Effect. “The second prong of Lemon bars governmental action that 8 has the ‘principal or primary effect” of advancing or disapproving of religion.” 9 Vasquez, 487 F.3d at 1256 (quoting Lemon, 403 U.S. at 612). Governmental action 10 has the primary effect of advancing or disapproving of a religion if it is “sufficiently 11 likely to be perceived by adherents of the controlling denominations as an 12 endorsement, and by the nonadherents as a disapproval, of their individual religious 13 choices.” Brown v. Woodland Joint Unified Sch. Dist., 27 F.3d 1373, 1378 (9th Cir. 14 1994). 15 The sole argument Plaintiffs advance for why the Initiative’s primary effect 16 advances religion is that “the Initiative sends a message to Plaintiffs—as 17 nonadherents of Islam—that they are outsiders, not full members of the school 18 community.” (ECF No. 26-1 at 17; see also Hasson Decl. ¶¶ 7–12; He Decl. ¶¶ 7–8, 19 12–19, 23, 26, 28; Hu Decl. ¶¶ 7–12; Steel Decl. ¶¶ 7–12; Velazquez Decl. ¶¶ 7–12; 20 see also FAC ¶ 120 (“Plaintiffs perceive the [] Initiative as the [] District’s 21 endorsement of Islam and a rejection of other religions[.]”).)28 Plaintiffs’ argument 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 The majority of the declarations submitted on the Individual Plaintiffs’ behalf are virtually undifferentiated, save for the Plaintiffs’ names, and repeat the same thirteen paragraphs in boilerplate fashion. (See, e.g., Hasson Decl. ¶¶ 1–13; Hu Decl. ¶¶ 1–13; Steel Decl. ¶¶ 1–13; Velazquez Decl. ¶¶ 1–13.) The boilerplate nature of the declarations undermines their credibility. See Orantes-Hernandez v. Gonzales, 504 F. Supp. 2d 825, 848–49 (C.D. Cal. 2007) (finding a set of declarations not to be “entirely credible” because “[m]ost of these declarations are written in nearly identical boilerplate language.”). Plaintiff He’s declaration is far more detailed, but its credibility is undermined by the fact that it is undated (i.e., “[e]xecuted in San Diego, California on January XX, 2018”) and incomplete: “[i]n DATE, I emigrated from WHERE. I have lived in the United States for NUMBER years.” (He Decl. ¶ 2.) Even so, the Court has otherwise considered 28 – 49 – 17cv1054 1 is thus admittedly about Plaintiffs’ subjective views about the Initiative. 2 Courts, however, do not employ a subjective test for assessing the primary 3 effect of a challenged government activity. In the context of government activity 4 affecting curriculum, the express rejection of a subjective test has particular force. “If 5 an Establishment Clause violation arose each time a student believed that a school 6 practice either advanced or disapproved of a religion, school curricula would be 7 reduced to the lowest common denominator, permitting each student to become a 8 ‘curriculum review committee’ unto himself.” Brown, 27 F.3d at 1378–79. The 9 Court sees no reason to distinguish this rationale in the school classroom curriculum 10 context from trainings and resources provided to teachers, both of which are elements 11 of the Initiative and its implementing measures. Because a subjective test does not 12 govern, primary effect is assessed “from the point of view of a reasonable observer 13 who is ‘informed . . . [and] familiar with the history of the government practice at 14 issue.’” Vasquez, 487 F.3d at 1256 (quoting Brown, 27 F.3d at 1378) (emphasis 15 added). Plaintiffs do not argue nor present evidence regarding how an objective or 16 reasonable observer would perceive the Initiative as an endorsement of Islam and 17 Muslims and rejection of other religions. 18 Finally, to the extent Plaintiffs believe that the Initiative’s focus on 19 Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying primarily advances religion because it 20 coincides with a focus of CAIR or because the District has adopted educational and 21 awareness measures that account for religion, the Court rejects this argument. In 22 addition to the reasons the Court has set forth in analyzing Plaintiffs’ narrow tailoring 23 argument, there is “no reason to conclude” that the Initiative “serves an impermissible 24 religious purpose simply because” its focus “coincide[s] with the beliefs of certain 25 religious organizations.” See Bowen v. Kendrick, 487 U.S. 589, 605 (1988). Plaintiffs 26 have not made a showing on the primary effect prong. 27 28 the declaration’s averments. – 50 – 17cv1054 1 Entanglement. When assessing the third Lemon prong of excessive 2 entanglement, courts examine “the character and purposes of the benefited 3 institutions, the nature of the aid that the State provides, and the resulting relationship 4 between the government and religious authority.” Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203, 5 206 (1997) (internal quotation marks omitted). “Cases in which the Supreme Court 6 has found excessive . . . entanglement often involve state aid to organizations or 7 groups affiliated with religious sects, such as parochial schools.” Cammack, 932 F.2d 8 at 781 (citations omitted). 9 The central feature of Plaintiffs’ argument that the Initiative fosters excessive 10 entanglement with religion is CAIR. 11 “delegate[d] government power to a religious organization,” i.e., CAIR, and relatedly, 12 Defendants “give sectarian activists exclusive access into classrooms to proselytize 13 to schoolchildren[.]” (ECF No. 26-1 at 18.) Based on the assertion that “[l]ittle 14 analysis is needed” (id.), Plaintiffs fail to identify any evidence in the record 15 substantiating these claims of excessive entanglement. Plaintiffs argue that Defendants have 16 Viewing the preliminary injunction record as a whole, the Court concludes that 17 Plaintiffs have failed to show excessive entanglement with religion on the basis of the 18 District’s relationship with CAIR. 19 eliminated the possibility of a formal partnership between the District and CAIR to 20 address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying. (LiMandri Decl. ¶ 32 Ex. 30.) 21 CAIR’s role is largely limited to the IRCC on terms that apply equally to any other 22 community organization. (ECF No. 32 at 7; Anjan Decl. ¶ 12; Santos Decl. ¶ 7; 23 Villegas Decl. ¶ 5.) Moreover, to the extent CAIR has provided and suggests 24 resources for the District on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying, these resources 25 are subject to review by the District and/or the ADL. (LiMandri Supp. Dec. ¶¶ 5–6 26 Exs. 55–56.) Plaintiffs have simply not substantiated their belief that CAIR has 27 unfettered and preferential access to the District’s classrooms and students. 28 Accordingly, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs are not likely to succeed on the merits As the Court has noted, Defendants have – 51 – 17cv1054 1 of their Establishment Clause claim. 2 B. 3 By assuming that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their First 4 Amendment claims, Plaintiffs assert that they have shown the irreparable harm 5 necessary for the issuance of injunctive relief. (ECF No. 26-1 at 20; ECF No. 51 at 6 11.) Plaintiffs’ argument assumes too much. “Irreparable harm is presumed if 7 plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits because a deprivation of constitutional 8 rights always constitutes irreparable harm.” Fyock v. City of Sunnyvale, 25 F. Supp. 9 3d 1267, 1281 (N.D. Cal. 2014) (citing Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373 (1976); 10 Ezell v. Chicago, 651 F.3d 684, 699–700 (7th Cir. 2011)). And it is true that “[t]he 11 loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, . . . constitutes 12 irreparable injury.” Associated Press v. Otter, 682 F.3d 821, 826 (9th Cir. 2012); see 13 also Doe v. Harris, 772 F.3d 563, 583 (9th Cir. 2014) (“[A] colorable First 14 Amendment claim is irreparable injury sufficient to merit the grant of [preliminary 15 injunctive] relief.”). But to premise irreparable harm on this basis, Plaintiffs would 16 need to show that they have lost or are likely to lose rights secured by the 17 Establishment Clause. Plaintiffs have not made this showing. Thus, Plaintiffs fail to 18 show irreparable harm on the only basis they advance.29 Irreparable Harm 19 C. 20 “To qualify for injunctive relief, the plaintiffs must establish that ‘the balance 21 of the equities tips in [their] favor.’” Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky, 586 F.3d 1109, 1138 22 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Winter, 555 U.S. at 20). A court has the “duty . . . to balance 23 the interests of all parties and weigh the damage to each.” L.A. Mem’l Coliseum 24 Comm’n v. Nat’l Football League, 634 F.2d 1197, 1203 (9th Cir. 1980). Balance of Hardships and Public Interest 25 26 27 28 Plaintiffs contend more broadly, that “no further showing of irreparable harm is necessary when an alleged deprivation of a constitutional right is involved.” (ECF No. 51 at 11 (emphasis added).) This contention is misguided. Mere allegations are insufficient for a plaintiff to meet his or her burden at the preliminary injunction stage. Holding otherwise would divest preliminary injunctive relief of its “extraordinary” nature based on a plaintiff’s pleading decisions. 29 – 52 – 17cv1054 1 Plaintiffs argue that the equities warrant preliminary injunctive relief because 2 they have raised serious First Amendment claims. (ECF No 26-1 at 21; ECF No. 51 3 at 14–15.) A “colorable First Amendment claim” may “raise the specter of irreparable 4 injury, but simply raising a serious claim is not enough to tip the hardship scales.” 5 Paramount Land Co. LP v. Cal. Pistachio Comm’n, 491 F.3d 1003, 1012 (9th Cir. 6 2007). But the Plaintiffs have not raised a serious or colorable First Amendment 7 claim. Therefore, they have not shown that the equities tip in their favor on this basis. 8 Plaintiffs further contend that the public interest warrants preliminary 9 injunctive relief because “the substantial controversy surrounding CAIR’s presence 10 in a public school district illustrates the extraordinary public interest . . . to keep a 11 divisive force like CAIR out of public schools.” (ECF No. 51 at 16; see also FAC ¶ 12 1.) That Plaintiffs view CAIR as divisive is not a sufficient basis for this Court to 13 enjoin the Defendants from interacting with CAIR. “Although political divisiveness 14 has been considered in establishment clause cases, it has never been relied upon as an 15 independent ground for holding a government practice unconstitutional.” Cammack, 16 932 F.2d at 781 (internal citations and quotations omitted). “Because [Plaintiffs] lack 17 any other basis for their Establishment Clause claim, any purported political 18 divisiveness caused by” CAIR’s involvement with the District to address 19 Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying is an insufficient basis to issue the 20 preliminary injunctive relief Plaintiffs seek. See Brown, 27 F.3d at 1383. 21 On the other hand, the equities and the public interest weigh against the 22 issuance of the preliminary injunction Plaintiffs request. In this case, Plaintiffs take 23 issue with the District’s decision to address Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bullying 24 and the District’s implementation measures. “Judicial interposition in the operation 25 of the public school system of the Nation raises problems requiring care and 26 constraint.” Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97, 104 (1968). Although courts must 27 not “fail[] to apply the First Amendment’s mandate in our educational systems where 28 essential to safeguard the fundamental values” it protects, “[c]ourts do not and cannot – 53 – 17cv1054 1 intervene in the resolution of conflicts which arise in the daily operation of school 2 systems and which do not directly and sharply implicate basic constitutional values.” 3 Id. Although Plaintiffs have invoked the First Amendment and the No Aid Clause to 4 challenge Defendants’ conduct, they have not shown a likelihood of success on these 5 claims. Plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief otherwise seeks judicial intervention 6 in “matters which the courts ought to entrust very largely to the experienced officials 7 who superintend our Nation’s public schools.” Sch. Dist. of Abington Twp., 374 U.S. 8 at 300; Cal. Parents for the Equalization of Educ. Materials v. Noonan, 600 F. Supp. 9 2d 1088, 1116 (E.D. Cal. 2009). In the absence of a clear showing that the Initiative 10 and its implementation directly and sharply implicate basic constitutional values, the 11 Court cannot grant the extraordinary remedy Plaintiffs request. 12 13 14 15 16 CONCLUSION & ORDER For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in its entirety. (ECF No. 26.) IT IS SO ORDERED. DATED: September 25, 2018 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 – 54 – 17cv1054