Statement of Boy Scouts of America: Court Rules Boy Scout Jamboree to Go Forward

Apr 04, 2007, 01:00 ET from Boy Scouts of America

    IRVING, Texas, April 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Boy Scouts of America
 is pleased that the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 dismissed the ACLU's lawsuit against the Department of Defense for
 supporting the National Scout Jamboree.
     For more than 25 years, Boy Scouts have held the National Scout
 Jamboree every four years at Fort A.P. Hill near Fredericksburg, Virginia.
 Scouts from all over the country camp together for ten days and participate
 in activities emphasizing physical fitness, appreciation of the outdoors,
 and patriotism. Seven Presidents have attended the Jamboree since President
 Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937. The Jamboree grounds at Fort A.P. Hill are
 open to the public, and an estimated 300,000 visitors attended in 2005
 along with 43,000 Scouts and their leaders. The 2010 Jamboree will
 celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Boy Scouts of America.
     The United States Congress has found that the military's logistical
 support for the National Scout Jamboree is an incomparable training
 opportunity for our armed forces. The Jamboree requires the construction,
 maintenance, and disassembly of a "tent city" capable of supporting tens of
 thousands of people for a week or longer.
     Nevertheless, the ACLU sued the Department of Defense in 1999 over its
 support for the Jamboree. In 2005, a federal district court in Chicago
 concluded the Jamboree statute (10 U.S.C. section 2554) was
 unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause because Scouting has a
 nonsectarian "duty to God" requirement. DoD appealed the district court's
 injunction against military support under that statute for the 2010
     In today's ruling, the federal Court of Appeals in Chicago reversed the
 district court's decision, concluding that the taxpayers named as the
 plaintiffs in the lawsuit did not have standing to sue DoD in the first
     "We are pleased that today's ruling preserves the training opportunity
 for the military that Congress wanted it to have," said Robert H. Bork,
 Jr., spokesperson for the Scouts.
     "Today's decision allows everyone to get back to planning the
 centennial Jamboree celebrating Boy Scouts' 100th birthday," said George A.
 Davidson, the attorney for Boy Scouts of America who argued before the
 Seventh Circuit last year.
     The case is Winkler v. Gates, No. 05-3451 (7th Cir. Apr. 4, 2007).

SOURCE Boy Scouts of America