ORDER GRANTING USCCB'S MOTION TO INTERVENE
Re: ECF No. 29
LAUREL BEELER, Magistrate Judge.
The ACLU of Northern California challenges federal grants to religious organizations for the care of unaccompanied immigrant minors.
The court held a hearing on the matter on February 2, 2017. At the hearing USCCB agreed to proceed on the basis of permissive intervention. Because the court finds that permissive intervention is appropriate in this case, the court grants USCCB's motion to intervene.
The United States government is legally obligated to provide for the "care and custody of all unaccompanied minor children."
ORR provides these services through a network of facilities and shelters.
USCCB is one such ORR-funded religious organization.
Despite USCCB's contraception and abortion objections, ORR granted it nearly $10 million in 2014.
Through its grants, the ALCU alleges, "ORR has authorized USCCB and other grantees to impose religiously based restrictions on young women's access to reproductive health care."
And so the ACLU sued the government, including the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Acting Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families, and the Director of ORR.
"On timely motion, the court may permit anyone to intervene who . . . has a claim or defense that shares with the main action a common question of law or fact." Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(b)(1)(B). An applicant requesting permissive intervention "must prove that it meets three threshold requirements: (1) it shares a common question of law or fact with the main action; (2) its motion is timely; and (3) the court has an independent basis for jurisdiction over the applicant's claims." Donnelly v. Glickman, 159 F.3d 405, 412 (9th Cir. 1998) (citing Nw. Forest Resource Council v. Glickman, 82 F.3d 825, 839 (9th Cir. 1996)). "Even if an applicant satisfies those threshold requirements, the district court has discretion to deny permissive intervention." Id.
The court in its discretion may consider factors such as "the nature and extent of the intervenors' interest," "whether the intervenors' interests are adequately represented by other parties," and "whether parties seeking intervention will significantly contribute to full development of the underlying factual issues in the suit and to the just and equitable adjudication of the legal questions presented." See Spangler v. Pasadena City Bd. of Educ., 552 F.2d 1326, 1329 (9th Cir. 1977). Judicial economy is also relevant. Venegas v. Skaggs, 867 F.2d 527, 531 (9th Cir. 1989), aff'd sub nom. Venegas v. Mitchell, 495 U.S. 82 (1990). The court must, however, "consider whether intervention will unduly delay the main action or will unfairly prejudice the existing parties." Donnelly, 159 F.3d at 412.
USCCB requests permissive intervention.
The threshold requirements for permissive intervention are satisfied. USCCB shares common questions of both law and fact with the main action — namely, whether the government's grants to USCCB violated the establishment clause. The motion is timely because it was filed less than a month after the court's order on the government's motion to dismiss and before the government answered the complaint. Intervention came six months after the ACLU filed its complaint but any delay was to permit the resolution of the motion to dismiss. And, finally, "[w]here the proposed intervenor in a federal-question case brings no new claims, the jurisdictional concern drops away." Freedom from Religion Found. v. Geithner, 644 F.3d 836, 844 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing 7C Wright, Miller & Kane, Fed. Prac. & Proc. § 1917 (3d ed. 2010)). The court thus turns to the discretionary factors.
First, the ACLU argues that the government will adequately represent USCCB's interests in the litigation. Identity of interests and adequacy of representation may counsel against permissive intervention. See Perry v. Proposition 8 Official Proponents, 587 F.3d 947, 955 (9th Cir. 2009). But the government and USCCB have at least potentially divergent interests — for example, USCCB has monetary and religious interests that the government does not share. This factor alone does not support denying intervention.
Second, the ACLU points to USCCB's obstreperous disagreements about scheduling issues. On this record, the court does not conclude that USCCB engaged in dilatory or prejudicial conduct.
USCCB's financial, moral, and religious interests in the litigation are significant. Its participation will contribute to the development of the factual and legal landscape. And the court cannot see how intervention will prejudice the existing parties. In sum, permissive intervention is appropriate, and the court grants USCCB's motion. The court will not now impose restrictions on USCCB's role in the case, for example, to "prevent needless duplication and delay," as the ACLU requests.
The court grants USCCB's motion for permissive intervention.