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Questions Certified in Action Claiming that Boy Scouts' Lease of Public Lands For Headquarters was Unconstitutional

By FindLaw Staff on June 03, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Barnes-Wallace v. San Diego, No. 04-55732, concerned an action claiming that the Boy Scouts' lease of public lands for its headquarters, accompanied by the Boy Scouts' prohibitions on atheism and homosexuality, was unconstitutional.  The Ninth Circuit certified the following questions to the California Supreme Court:  1) Do the leases interfere with the free exercise and enjoyment of religion by granting preference for a religious organization in violation of the No Preference Clause in article I, section 4 of the California Constitution?; 2) Are the leases "aid" for purposes of the No Aid Clause of article XVI, section 5 of the California Constitution? and 3) If the leases are aid, are they benefiting a "creed" or "sectarian purpose" in violation of the No Aid Clause?

Montz v. Pilgrim Films & Television, Inc., No. 08-56954, involved an action for copyright infringement and related state claims based on defendants' use of plaintiffs' materials in developing a television show involving a team of "paranormal investigators" called "Ghost Hunters."  The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' state-law claims, holding that 1) the Copyright Act preempted plaintiffs' implied contract claim because the rights asserted by the plaintiffs under the implied contract were equivalent to the rights of copyright owners under 17 U.S.C. section 106 -- namely, the exclusive rights to use and to authorize use of their work; and 2) defendants' alleged breach of confidence stemmed from an alleged violation of the very rights contained in section 106.

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