Cincinnati, Ohio (June 15, 2012) — The American Freedom Law Center, through Senior Counsel Robert Muise and David Yerushalmi, have petitioned the full court (en banc) of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to review a decision rendered by a three-judge panel which held that a federal taxpayer lacked “standing” to challenge the constitutionality of the federal government’s use of taxpayer funds to support sharia.
On June 1, 2012, a Sixth Circuit panel ruled that a federal taxpayer lacks “standing” to challenge the government’s use of taxpayer funds to support American International Group, Inc.’s (AIG) sharia-based activities. The case, which is captioned on appeal as Murray v. United States Department of Treasury, et al., was brought by AFLC attorneys Muise and Yerushalmi, representing the plaintiff, Kevin Murray, a taxpayer and former combat Marine who served in Iraq. The federal lawsuit alleged that the U.S. government’s takeover and financial bailout of AIG was in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
AFLC Senior Counsel Muise commented, “It is well established that a federal taxpayer has standing to challenge the constitutionality of the impermissible use of federal funds appropriated and expended pursuant to Congress’ taxing and spending power. Here, Congress appropriated billions of taxpayer funds to support AIG, and these funds are being used to support AIG’s sharia-based activities in direct violation of the Establishment Clause.”
At the time of the government bailout (beginning in September 2008 and continuing to the present), AIG was (and still is) the world leader in promoting sharia-compliant insurance products. As the Sixth Circuit panel acknowledged in its opinion, “‘Sharia’ refers to Islamic law based on the teachings of the Quran. It is the Islamic code embodying the way of life for Muslims and is intended to serve as the civic law in Muslim countries.” In fact, sharia is the legal doctrine that demands capital punishment for apostasy and blasphemy and provides the legal and political mandates for the global jihad prosecuted by the world’s Muslim terrorists. Consequently, by financially supporting AIG with taxpayer funds, the U.S. government is directly and indirectly promoting Islam and, more troubling, sharia.
After a year of discovery that included multiple document requests and depositions of high-ranking government officials, Yerushalmi and Muise filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the undisputed facts demonstrate that the government, through its absolute control and ownership of AIG, and with tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, has directly and indirectly promoted and supported sharia as a religious legal doctrine in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
In its opinion, the Sixth Circuit panel acknowledged that “AIG subsidiaries ensure the Sharia-compliance of its SCF products by obtaining consultation from ‘Sharia Supervisory Committees.’ The members of these committees are authorities in Sharia law and oversee the implementation of SCF products by reviewing AIG’s operations, supervising the development of SCF products, and evaluating the compliance of these products with Sharia law.” The panel acknowledged that “AIG’s subsidiaries received a significant portion of the funds AIG received from the federal government” and that “[s]ix AIG subsidiaries have marketed and sold SCF products since AIG began receiving capital injections from the federal government.” And the panel acknowledged that “[n]either party disputes that Treasury Department financing supported all of AIG’s businesses, including the subsidiaries that marketed SCF products.”
AFLC’s petition is requesting a full panel of the Sixth Circuit to review the three-judge panel’s decision because that decision directly conflicts with U.S. Supreme Court and Sixth Circuit precedent and it effectively immunizes congressional spending from an as-applied constitutional challenge under the Establishment Clause. Additionally, AFLC is requesting en banc review because this case has exceptional public importance.
The American Freedom Law Center is a Judeo-Christian law firm that fights for faith and freedom. It accomplishes its mission through litigation, public policy initiatives, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. Visit us at www.americanfreedomlawcenter.org.