Just last week Justice Sotomayor ruled in favor of the group
Yeshiva University must accept the campus Pride Alliance and exhaust all state level legal options before the Supreme Court will consider hearing its challenge.
The Jewish university asked the nation’s highest court to expedite its appeal of a New York state court ruling that concluded the school was not religious and must accept the YU Pride Alliance. Last week, Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a stay, but joined Wednesday with Justices Ketanji Jackson, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts to reject the university’s appeal.
The unsigned order stated:
The application is denied because it appears that applicants have at least two further avenues for expedited or interim state court relief. First, applicants may ask the New York courts to expedite consideration of the merits of their appeal. Applicants do not assert, nor does the Appellate Division docket reveal, that they have ever requested such relief. Second, applicants may file 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, as the Appellate Division clerk’s office directed applicants to do on August 25.
The university can return to the Court after it has tried those other avenues. The appeals court has already rejected the university’s request.
The remaining four Supreme Court justices criticized the majority’s decision, in a dissent written by Justice Samuel Alito.
“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,” Alito wrote. “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.”
“At least four of us are likely to vote to grant certiorari if Yeshiva’s First Amendment arguments are rejected on appeal, and Yeshiva would likely win if its case came before us,” Alito wrote. “A State’s imposition of its own mandatory interpretation of scripture is a shocking development that calls out for review.”
The failure to issue a stay in favor of Yeshiva University means that the Jewish school must violate its First Amendment rights in the interim and approve a group whose goals are in conflict with Judaism, the justice wrote.
“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,” the dissent stated. “It is our duty to stand up for the Constitution even when doing so is controversial.”
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