‘No Religious Group Is Safe From Government Control’: SCOTUS Makes Yeshiva University Return To NY Court, Forces Acceptance Of LGBTQ Club

‘No Religious Group Is Safe From Government Control’: SCOTUS Makes Yeshiva University Return To NY Court, Forces Acceptance Of LGBTQ Club

The Supreme Court has temporarily forced Yeshiva University (YU), the famed Orthodox Jewish university in New York, to accept an LGBTQ club against its wishes.

The university had asked for a stay of a Manhattan judge’s order YU grant recognition to the Yeshiva University Pride Alliance; on Friday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted the emergency petition, but on Wednesday the court voted 5-4 to reject the stay and send the case back to the New York courts, where YU has lost before.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher, not just for Yeshiva but for the country,” Becket Fund president Mark Rienzi, had warned. “That’s why people of many different faiths filed briefs asking the court to protect Yeshiva. If Yeshiva can’t even make religious decisions on its own campus, then no religious group is safe from government control.”

The Becket Fund is representing YU.

The New York court contends that YU does not merit a religious exemption because it represents itself as an educational and not religious institution, wrote William McGurn , the former Chief Speechwriter for President George W. Bush, in The Wall Street Journal in a piece titled, “Yeshiva University Case Means We’re All Jews Now.”

“What a cramped view this is, as if religion can be so easily separated into neat and distinct boxes—especially at a Jewish university,” he added.

But the Supreme Court, in denying the application, argued that YU had not requested the New York courts to expedite consideration of the merits of their appeal nor filed with the Appellate Division a corrected motion for permission to appeal that court’s denial of a stay to the New York Court of Appeals. The Court stated that if YU sought but did not receive expedited review or interim relief from the New York courts, they could return to the Court.

The four justices who sided with YU included Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett. Alito declared:

Does the First Amendment permit a State to force a Jewish school to instruct its students in accordance with an interpretation of Torah that the school, after careful study, has concluded is incorrect? The answer to that question is surely “no.”

The First Amendment guarantees the right to the free exercise of religion, and if that provision means anything, it prohibits a State from enforcing its own preferred interpretation of Holy Scripture. Yet that is exactly what New York has done in this case, and it is disappointing that a majority of this Court refuses to provide relief. …

It is our duty to stand up for the Constitution even when doing so is controversial.

Two “conservative” justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined the majority opinion against YU.

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