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Federal court vacates decision that declared grant to USCCB unconstitutional

Catholic World News - January 17, 2013

A US appeals court has vacated a decision by a lower court judge that had declared federal grants to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for human-trafficking victims to be unconstitutional.

In March 2012, US District Court Judge Richard Stearns, siding with the American Civil Liberties Union, declared that grants made to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to assist human-trafficking victims are unconstitutional because the grants represent a government endorsement of Catholicism.

The US appeals court dismissed the ACLU challenge because the contracts have expired. In addition, the appeals court vacated Judge Stearns’s decision.

“It doesn't resolve anything on the merits (of the ACLU's claim),” said Henry Dinger, an attorney who represented the USCCB. “The important thing to emphasize is that Judge Stearns’s decision is now vacated and no longer has any effect.”

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