An Orthodox Jewish university had reason to celebrate last week after the Supreme Court blocked a state judge’s order that it recognize an LGBTQ club.
However, the celebration was short-lived when this week the nation’s highest judicial body announced that it would punt on the underlying issue.
Supreme Court will not issue a stay on New York judge’s decision
According to Fox News, the Court decided five to four on Wednesday that it would not grant Yeshiva University’s request to stay a decision in June by New York Supreme Court Justice Lynn Kotler.
In her ruling, Kotler sided with arguments made by the Yeshiva Pride Alliance that Yeshiva is precluded under state law from not granting it recognition.
Specifically, Yeshiva Pride Alliance contends that the school “may not deny certain students access to the non-religious resources it offers the entire student community on the basis of sexual orientation.”
Kotler wrote, “There is no doubt that Yeshiva has an inherent and integral religious character which defines it and sets it apart from other schools and universities of higher education,” the judge acknowledged.
“However, Yeshiva must fit within the term ‘religious corporation’ as the legislature intended the term to mean in the [New York City Human Rights Law],” she continued before concluding that the school does not fit this definition.
Justice Alito is skeptical New York courts will protect school’s 1st Amendment rights
In an opinion authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the Court stated that Yeshiva will have to fight the case in New York’s legal system.
“The application is denied because it appears that applicants have at least two further avenues for expedited or interim state court relief,” Fox News quoted her as writing.
However, Justice Samuel Alito authored a dissent in which he said that Yeshiva’s policy regarding student groups is protected by the 1st Amendment.
What’s more, Alito expressed skepticism that New York courts can be counted on to uphold the institution’s Constitutional rights.
“I doubt that Yeshiva’s return to state court will be fruitful, and I see no reason why we should not grant a stay at this time,” Alito complained. “It is our duty to stand up for the Constitution even when doing so is controversial.”