Paul L. Caron

Sunday, September 11, 2022

NY Times: Justice Sotomayor Says Yeshiva University Can Bar LGBT Student Club — For Now

Following up on my previous posts:

New York Times, Yeshiva University Can Bar L.G.B.T. Club for Now, Justice Sotomayor Rules:

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said on Friday that Yeshiva University in Manhattan can for now disregard a state court ruling that ordered it to recognize an L.G.B.T. student club — a case she said could be considered by the full Supreme Court.

The ruling in State Supreme Court in Manhattan in June was celebrated by gay students and their supporters but was condemned by administrators at Yeshiva, America’s most prominent institution of Modern Orthodox Jewish higher education. They derided it as an attack on religious freedom and vowed to appeal; the university applied for an emergency stay late last month.

On Friday evening, Justice Sotomayor granted it. The justice, who has jurisdiction over the lower court, wrote that the state decision was “hereby stayed pending further order of the undersigned or of the court.”

The ruling suggests that the Supreme Court, which has taken an increasingly broad view of religious freedom in recent years, may take up the university’s case. Since Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the court in 2020, petitioners in religious freedom cases have almost always prevailed there. ...

The university has been represented in this case by lawyers from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a public-interest legal and education firm based in Washington, D.C.

In their application for an emergency stay, they wrote that Yeshiva’s policies and requirements were obvious indications of its status as a religious institution.

Update from Cardozo Law School Dean Melanie Leslie:

I write to reiterate Cardozo School of Law’s long history and ongoing support for LGBTQ+ rights. As you may know, our parent Yeshiva University has successfully petitioned the Supreme Court for a temporary stay of a state trial court’s preliminary injunction requiring it to allow a Pride Alliance student organization at its undergraduate religious school. Unlike Yeshiva University’s undergraduate division, which has a religious educational program, the law school has a secular curriculum and a diverse population, and the University’s policy has no bearing on the law school or on our vibrant student OUTLaw or LGBTQ+ alumni organizations. Cardozo’s faculty, staff and leadership are proud of our school’s long history of support in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. We have a deep and steadfast commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We recognize that LGTBQ+ students and alumni play a critical role in our community and believe that inclusion and equality are cornerstones of legal education.

Following YU’s application to the Supreme Court, 54 Cardozo faculty members signed a letter to the University president.

We are also pleased to announce the launch of a weekly pop-up class starting on Wednesday, September 21st at noon EST exploring LGBTQ+ law, policy, history and civil rights challenges past, present and future with prominent scholars, researchers and movement leaders. ...

Classes are open to everyone and will be held on-site at Cardozo and simultaneously on Zoom. No academic credit will be available, but CLE approval is pending.

We hope you can join us.

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