Glassman v. Arlington County, 10-1496

By FindLaw Staff on December 23, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Taxpayer's section 1983 suit against a county for violation of the Establishment Clause

Glassman v. Arlington County, 10-1496, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss, in a taxpayer's 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit against a county, Commonwealth of Virginia, a church, and a developer, claiming that the county's involvement in the church's development of apartments on the church-owned parcel of land violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

In affirming, the court held that no factual allegations exist that support a claim that the county sought to advance the church's faith, to spread the message of the church, or to become entangled in its religious affairs.  The court held that the county's only interest was to accomplish the secular end of having affordable housing constructed in a highly urban area of the county.  Lastly, the court held that, to the extent that the church and the county pursued their own goals through a secular corporation, this interaction does not support a plausible claim that the county acted so as to make law establishing religion.

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