God as a Litigant

From the Omaha World-Herald:

Chambers’ may appeal after his suit against God is tossed out

You can’t sue God if you can’t serve the papers on him, a Douglas County District Court judge has ruled in Omaha.

Judge Marlon Polk threw out Nebraska Sen. Ernie Chambers’ lawsuit against the Almighty, saying there was no evidence that the defendant had been served. What’s more, Polk found “there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant.”

Chambers had sued God in September 2007, seeking a permanent injunction to prevent God from committing acts of violence such as earthquakes and tornadoes.

The senator said today that he is considering an appeal of Polk’s ruling.

“It is a thoughtful, well-written opinion,” Chambers said. “However, like any prudent litigator, I want to study it in detail before I determine what my next course of action will be.”

Polk dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, which means it can’t be refiled. But his ruling can be appealed.

Although the case may seem superfluous and even scandalous to others, Chambers has said his point is to focus on the question of whether certain lawsuits should be prohibited.

“Nobody should stand at the courthouse door to predetermine who has access to the courts,” he said. “My point is that anyone can sue anyone else, even God.”

Chambers, a political independent who has served in the Nebraska Legislature for 38 years, said he decided to make that point after at least two attempts by other senators in the Legislature to limit “frivolous lawsuits.”

“I was able to fend them off,” Chambers said. “A lawsuit is not frivolous until a court declares it so.”

The senator did have a day in court on the case. In August, he argued that Polk should take judicial notice of the existence of God. The senator cited the facts that U.S. currency says “In God We Trust,” God is invoked during oaths in court hearings, and chaplains offer prayers before legislative bodies.

“If God is omnipresent,” Chambers said in that August hearing, “then he is here in Douglas County and in this courtroom.”

Polk was not persuaded.

His Tuesday ruling said Chambers’ motion to take judicial notice of God “is denied as moot.” [10/15/08]

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