Supreme Court makes a surprise move in the Yeshiva University case

Breitbart News reports that the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court just lifted the temporary stay that they had granted in the Yeshiva University case. 

As Breitbart noted, the university “faces the dilemma of temporarily embracing LGBT policies that violate the school’s Jewish faith or risking contempt of court.”

Background

This legal battle is taking place between Yeshiva University (YU), the country’s leading Jewish university, and YU Pride Alliance, an LGBT group. It began when YU refused to recognize YU Pride Alliance as a student group because it violates Orthodox Jewish teaching.

YU Pride Alliance responded with a lawsuit attempting to force YU to recognize it as a student group. The group claims that YU, by refusing to do so, has violated the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).

Even though NYCHRL provides an exemption for “religious organizations,” the lower courts ruled in favor of YU Pride Alliance, claiming that YU is not religious enough to qualify for the “religious organization” exemption. The court, accordingly, ordered YU to recognize YU Pride Alliance and to afford them “full equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges afforded to all other student groups at Yeshiva University.”

YU is appealing the decision. But, in the meantime, YU asked for a stay, preventing it from having to implement the lower court order while the appeal is being litigated. The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division denied that stay as did the next highest court, the New York Court of Appeals.

So, as a last resort, YU took the request to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court granted it. But, at the same time, the justices said to expect more information shortly, suggesting to many legal experts that something was up – and, it was.

The latest

This past week, the U.S. Supreme Court removed the stay.

The vote was 5-4. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with the court’s liberal contingent, while the conservative justices dissented.

The majority has urged YU to seek an expedited review in the New York appellate courts. The justices said that, if the lower court refuses to grant relief, YU could try for another emergency stay.

The only problem, as the conservative justices pointed out in their dissent, is that this puts YU in the difficult position of having to choose between violating their religious beliefs – by recognizing the LBGT group – or violating a court order. The four justices called it a “shocking development.”

“The upshot is that Yeshiva is almost certain to be compelled for at least some period of time (and perhaps for a lengthy spell) to instruct its students in accordance with what it regards as an incorrect interpretation of Torah and Jewish law,” the four dissenters wrote.

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