Friday, September 29, 2023
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Kickup Over West Point Ouster Has No Legs

WASHINGTON (CN) - A former West Point student suspended for plagiarism lost his last remaining claim, which involved the Cadet's Prayer that he was allegedly forced to recite at a hearing.

West Point suspended Alan Spadone in 2010 based on allegations that he had submitted assignments that were not his own work in violation of the prestigious school's honor code.

During a hearing on the allegations, the Commandant of Cadets allegedly ordered Spadone to stand at attention and read aloud the "Cadet's Prayer," a "monotheistic prayer."

After disenrolling Spadone, West Point ordered that Spadone enlist as a soldier for two years of duty.

Spadone sued Army Secretary John McHugh in 2011 for alleged violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, his right to due process, and a host of other claims that all proved unsuccessful.

Spadone's last remaining claim alleged violation of the establishment clause, but U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein tossed it out as well on Tuesday.

"Plaintiff alleges, without evidence of a policy or practice on the part of defendant, that he may be ordered by a military superior to pray in the future," Rothstein wrote. "Such an allegation is far too speculative to establish a future risk of harm."

The judge accepted instead the Army's argument that the case is moot because Spadone is no longer a student at West Point, and therefore "no longer at risk of constitutional harm due to forced prayer ordered by a military superior."

Spadone also failed to show that his alleged entitlement to money damages and back pay meant the case was not moot on account of constitutional violations pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

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