Jenner & Block

Jenner & Block Files Amicus Brief for ADL in Sixth Circuit Case Invlving "Dual Loyalty" Stereotypeo

Jenner & Block recently filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to allow a Jewish civilian employee of the U.S. Army to sue the government for its "egregious discriminatory conduct" against him. 

The case, Tenenbaum v. Ashcroft, involves the discriminatory investigation of U.S. Army engineer David Tenenbaum, who was falsely accused of being an Israeli spy by certain members of the U.S. Government due to his Jewish faith.  According to the Firm’s brief, despite his “impeccable record and lifelong devotion to protecting the safety of U.S. troops,” Mr. Tenenbaum was subjected to an eight-year period of invasive investigations conducted by numerous government agencies, not one of which resulted in espionage charges or a criminal prosecution.

A comprehensive, 55-page report issued by the Department of Defense in 2008 concluded that Mr. Tenenbaum “was the subject of inappropriate treatment by Department of the Army and Defense Investigative Service officials …” and that, “

ut for Mr. Tenenbaum’s religion, the investigations would likely have taken a different course.”

Mr. Tenenbaum was initially denied the ability to sue for discrimination because the lower court accepted the government claim that “state secrets” prevented it from revealing key facts in this case.  Based on the compelling evidence released in the Department of Defense report, Mr. Tenenbaum filed a subsequent lawsuit, which was again dismissed on res judicata and collateral estoppel grounds.

The Firm’s brief addresses how the “dual loyalty” stereotype — the charge that American Jews hold greater loyalty to Israel than to the United States — may have affected Mr. Tenenbaum’s security clearance and how it may have affected others seeking or hoping to maintain military or security clearances from the U.S. government.  The brief urges the Sixth Circuit to reverse the trial court’s determination that his claim is barred, allowing Mr. Tenenbaum to have his day in court for the first time in 11 years. 

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

The amicus brief was authored, pro bono, by Partner Eric L. Lohrenz and Associates Benjamin P. Wieck and Nicholas A. Kurk.  Partners Eric A. Sacks and Debbie L. Berman also contributed to the case. 

Please click here to view the Firm's amicus brief in Tenenbaum v. Ashcroft.