Federal appeals court tosses suit against former congressman by Muslim rights group Holly Manges Jones at 2:09 PM ET
[JURIST] The US DC Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday upheld the dismissal [PDF opinion] of a defamation lawsuit against former US Rep. Cass Ballenger [Wikipedia profile] which was brought by an American Muslim civil rights group. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) [advocacy website] sued Ballenger [JURIST report] for comments he made in a 2003 interview to the Charlotte Observer when he said the group gave money to the Shi'a Islamist group Hezbollah [Wikipedia backgrounder] and said he worried about the location of the CAIR's headquarters because they could "blow-up" the Capitol.
The civil rights group has denied any links to terrorism and sought $2 million in the lawsuit against Ballenger, but last year a federal judge threw out the case saying the suit should instead be against the US government because Ballenger was a federal employee. The judge then threw out the case entirely under the doctrine of sovereign immunity [LII backgrounder], which bars most cases against the US government. AP has more.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.