According to the Jerusalem Post, in Israel yesterday an expanded panel of the country’s High Court of Justice upheld a Tel Aviv municipal bylaw that allows 165 large supermarkets to remain open on the Sabbath. Small stores which must close because of the Law for Hours of Work and Rest, which prohibits requiring employees to work on their day of rest, argued that the Tel Aviv ordinance created unfair competition. Orthodox Jewish lawmakers say they will introduce legislation in the Knesset to overrule the decision. [Thanks to Steven H. Sholk for the lead.]
According to a report from WDRB yesterday, Kentucky Family Court Judge W. Mitchell Nance has resigned rather than defend against charges filed against him by the Judicial Conduct Commission. Nance had sent out a general order to attorneys informing them that he would not hear cases involving adoptions by gays or lesbians. Nance had argued that his religious beliefs and convictions required him to recuse himself in such cases. (See prior related posting.) [Thanks to Tom E. Rutledge for the lead.]
The Department of Health and Human Services yesterday published a Release (full text) in the Federal Register seeking comment on removal of barriers that may exist to participation in HHS programs and grants for faith-based organizations. The Release says in part:HHS seeks input from the public and relevant stakeholders on potential changes that could be made to existing HHS regulations or guidance to ensure that faith-based organizations and their religious beliefs and moral convictions are properly accommodated, that faith based organizations are not required to act contrary to their religious beliefs or moral convictions (as a recipient, subrecipient, contractor, sub-contractor, or otherwise) or are otherwise not restricted, excluded, substantially burdened, discriminated against, or disproportionately disadvantaged in HHS-conducted or funded programs or activities (including those administered by state and local governments) because of their religious character, identity, beliefs, or moral convictionsHHS also seeks input on whether faith-based organizations could face potential obstacles to participation in state or locally funded programs, or restrictions on their privately funded activities, because of HHS requirements imposed on state and local governments as a condition of receiving HHS funding.Catholic Philly reports on the Release.
In John Doe 1 v. Boone County Prosecutor, (IN App., Oct. 24, 2017), the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the state’s sex offender law does not prohibit serious sex offenders from attending their church, even if the church conducts Sunday school or provides child care at the same site. Indiana law prohibits
Yesterday, New Jersey’s Attorney general filed a religious discrimination suit against Mahwah Township. The complaint (full text) in Porrino v. Township of Mahwah, (NJ Super. Ct., filed 10/24/2017) is summarized in a press release from the Attorney General’s Office:Likening the conduct of Mahwah township officials to 1950s-era “white flight” suburbanites who sought to keep African-Americans from moving into their neighborhoods, Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced today that the State has filed a Superior Court complaint against the Mahwah Township Council and the Township of Mahwah alleging that, in an effort to stave off a feared influx of Orthodox Jewish persons from outside New Jersey, it approved two unlawfully discriminatory ordinances.One of those ordinances discriminated by banning non-New-Jersey-residents from using Mahwah’s public parks, the State alleges. The other – an ordinance amendment – discriminated by effectively banning the posting, on utility poles, of plastic strips called “lechis” that denote the boundaries of an eruv used by Sabbath-observant Orthodox Jews. The complaint also challenges actions the township has taken to have an existing eruv removed.[Thanks to Steven H. Sholk for the lead.]
In People v. Alliance Warburg Capital Management, (NY Cty. Sup. Ct., Oct. 17, 2017), a New York trial court rejected religious free exercise arguments by defendant who had been convicted of defrauding investors out of over $4 million. Defendant objected to the court’s refusal during trial to agree to hold no sessions on Fridays– though only one session was in fact held on a Friday. The state did not object to defendant’s request. The court found defendant’s religious claims to insincere. Defendant claimed to be Jewish and contended that
Yesterday, as President Trump’s prior Executive Order barring admission of refugees expired and a new Executive Order took effect, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order (full text) in Trump v. Hawaii in which it had previously granted review to decide on the constitutionality of the President’s second travel ban. In the order the Court vacated the judgment below and remanded to the 9th Circuit with instructions to dismiss as moot the challenge to the prior Executive Order. Justice Sotomayor dissented from the order vacating the judgment below and would dismiss the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted. The Court earlier dismissed another challenge on similar grounds. (See prior posting.)
President Trump today issued an Executive Order (full text) resuming the admission of refugees to the United States, but with increased vetting. The Executive Order provides rather cryptically for a 90-day review period to determine
USA Today, quoting the Wall Street Journal [subscription required], reports that the White House today will announce a new vetting process that will allow refugees from all countries to enter the U.S. again. President Trump’s controversial travel ban, as it applies to refugees, expires today.
In HM Chief Inspector of Education v. Interim Executive Board of Al-Hijrah School, (EWCA, Oct. 13, 2017), the England and Wales Court of Appeal held that a Muslim school which admits both boys and girls, but for religious reasons separates them into sex-segregated classes, violates the Equality Act 2010. The opinion of Etherton, MR (joined by Beatson, LJ) concluded that the separation operates to discriminate against both boys and girls, saying in part:An individual girl pupil cannot socialise and intermix with a boy pupil because, and only because, of her sex; and an individual boy pupil cannot socialise and intermix with a girl pupil because, and only because, of his sex. Each is, therefore, treated less favourably than would be the case if their sex was different.They also point out:It is common ground that the School is not the only Islamic school which operates such a policy and that a number of Jewish schools with a particular Orthodox ethos and some Christian faith schools have similar practices. In a separate opinion, Lady Justice Gloster argued that on the facts of this case, it should be found that the school’s practice also has a more detrimental effect on girls than on boys. She said in part:One does not need to be an educationalist, a sociologist or a psychiatrist to conclude that a mixed sex school: (i.) which, whether intentionally or otherwise, tolerates an environment where extreme and intolerant contemporary views about the role and physical subservience of women, and the entitlement of men physically to dominate and chastise them, are on display, or available to read, in the school library; (ii.) whose teachers approve the expression by the pupils of gender stereotyped views about the roles of women as homemakers and child minders and the role of men as the breadwinners; (iii.) where girls are always required to wait for an hour during the school day so that the boys can take a break first; and (iv.) where no, or no sufficient, consideration is given to promoting equal opportunity, is a school where a strict sex segregation policy subjects girls to a greater risk of extreme and intolerant views and is likely to reinforce or create misogynist attitudes amongst the boy pupils towards them.She also points out that the Equality Act contains an exception for single-sex schools, i.e. schools that only admit students of one sex.The Court also issued a press summary of its decision. Schools Week reports on the decision.