Community House, Inc. v. Boise, No. 09-35780 - - U.S. Ninth Circuit
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Community House, Inc. v. Boise, No. 09-35780

Establishment Clause Action Regarding Religious Homeless Shelter

In Community House, Inc. v. Boise, No. 09-35780, an action against the City of Boise and the Boise City Council, alleging, among other things, that the anticipated lease of a building to a homeless shelter violated the First Amendment's anti-Establishment Clause and the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), the court reversed the denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity, holding that 1) the Mayor and the members of the City Council were entitled to absolute legislative immunity for their actions in promoting and approving the lease; and 2) certain other individual defendants were entitled to qualified immunity because at the time the City approved the lease and sale, a reasonable official would not have known that such actions would violate the Establishment Clause or the FHA.

As the court wrote:  "The lawsuit underlying this appeal arises from the City of Boise, Idaho's communal assumption almost twenty years ago of shared responsibility for the care and housing of a vulnerable sector of its population-the homeless."

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