Policy Needed on Allowing Religious Coverings into Courtrooms

Lisa Valentine, also known by her Islamic name, Miedah, was arrested when Judge Keith Rollins of the Douglasville Municipal Court found her in contempt of court for refusing to remove her headscarf. Ms. Valentine was refused access to the courthouse, even after she expressly conveyed to court officials that the wearing of the headscarf is an expression of her faith. Ms. Valentine was subsequently placed in the courthouse temporary holding facility and was made to remove her headscarf.
Following this incident, the ACLU of Georgia recommended to the Supreme Court of Georgia Committee on Access and Fairness in the Courts adoption of a formal policy clarifying that religious coverings can be worn in Georgia courthouses. The policy balances courts' security concerns with indiviuals' fundamental right to religious liberty. The Judicial Council of Georgia adopted such a policy to ensure no one in Georgia has to choose between their fundamental right to free expression of religion and their right to gain access to a courthouse.

In addition to the creation of this policy, the ACLU of Georgia and the ACLU sued the City of Douglasville and the arresting officer for violating Ms. Valentine's First and Fourth Amendment rights.


The policy suggested by the ACLU of Georgia and the ACLU was adopted by the Judicial Council of Georgia, and the City of Douglasville settled the lawsuit with Ms. Valentine, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Georgia.

City Pays Settlement Over Headgear

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