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Yeshiva U Fight Against Order It Recognize Student Pride Alliance Suffers Blow When Denied “Leave To Appeal” to NY High Ct

Yeshiva U Fight Against Order It Recognize Student Pride Alliance Suffers Blow When Denied “Leave To Appeal” to NY High Ct

YU’s lawyer: “The parties will press forward with discovery,” after which Yeshiva can appeal to the Court of Appeals and, if necessary, the United States Supreme Court.”

Yeshiva University’s ongoing legal battle with the LGBTQ club “Pride Alliance” will not be going to the state’s highest court, at least not for now. Last week, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court denied the school’s request to appeal its decision to the Court of Appeals.

As we reported in January, the Orthodox Jewish university sought leave to appeal from the court’s ruling affirming the trial court’s order this past summer requiring Yeshiva University (YU) to recognize an official “Pride Alliance” student club, against its religious convictions.

We’ve covered the ongoing legal battle between the Orthodox Jewish university and the student Pride Alliance here:

YU’s lawyer, Eric Baxter, senior counsel at the Becket Fund, told The YU Commentator that they anticipated the court’s decision:

“The Court’s ruling is not unexpected: In New York, intermediate appeals to the Court of Appeals are rarely granted,” said Baxter. “The University sought the ability to appeal so that the legal issues could be finally resolved before Plaintiffs would be required to produce documents or give depositions. Unfortunately, Plaintiffs’ counsel refused to support the appeal, choosing instead to push first for monetary damages against the University.”

According to the school paper, YU’s liability for damages to the plaintiffs claiming the school violated the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) will be decided by the NY County Court—whose judge ruled last June that YU violated the law.

A date for trial has not been set as the parties are still in the middle of discovery: “The parties will press forward with discovery,” Baxter told the paper, “after which Yeshiva can appeal to the Court of Appeals and, if necessary, the United States Supreme Court.”

If YU does come before the Supreme Court, it will be for the second time.  As we reported in January, YU’s appeal to the state’s highest court was the latest step on its path back to the Supreme Court following its September ruling denying the school’s request for emergency relief.

The Supreme Court majority sent the university back to state court to finish out the appeals process, inviting them to return if they “seek and receive neither expedited review nor interim relief from the New York courts.”

Alito, joined by Thomas, Gorsuch, and Barret dissented:

The court denied Yeshiva’s request for a stay pending appeal, and when the University applied to the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals for interim relief, those courts refused without providing a single word of explanation. As a last resort, Yeshiva turned to this Court, but the majority—for no good reason—sends the University back to the state courts. 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.

An applicant may obtain a stay pending appeal if it makes a strong showing (1) that it would likely prevail if review is granted, (2) that it will suffer irreparable harm during the time it takes for the completion of the appellate process, and (3) that neither the interests of other parties nor those of the public militate in favor of denial. Nken v. Holder, 556 U. S. 418, 434 (2009). Yeshiva easily satisfies all these requirements.

Unless a stay is granted, Yeshiva will be required to recognize the Alliance as an official student group and to grant it all the privileges extended to other such groups. As the Alliance has contended, this would force Yeshiva to make a “statement” in support of an interpretation of Torah with which the University disagrees. The loss of First Amendment rights for even a short period constitutes irreparable harm….

The majority does not address our well-established standard for granting a stay but instead suggests that we cannot grant a stay because the New York courts have not entered a final order. But the state courts’ denial of interim relief constitutes a final order under National Socialist Party of America v. Skokie, 432 U. S. 43, 44 (1977) (per curiam)….

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. It is our duty to stand up for the Constitution even when doing so is controversial.

Once the school is back before the Supreme Court, the four dissenting justices predicted success: They are “likely to vote to grant certiorari,” and “Yeshiva would likely win if its case came before us.”


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Do what everybody else is doing – move to Florida.

    jhkrischel in reply to txvet2. | April 2, 2023 at 9:24 pm

    Honestly, that’s probably the best outcome. Let the blues burn themselves to the ground, and let free people move to free states.

    JackinSilverSpring in reply to txvet2. | April 3, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    I was thinking the same thing. NYS in general and NYC in particular are rapidly becoming unlivable hell holes. I realize, the university has very large investment in buildings in NYC, but at some point a decision has to be made about staying and exposing students to the physical dangers now inherent in NYC as well as the insanity of phasing out fossil-fuels, or picking up stakes and going to somewhere safer and sane.

ahad haamoratsim | April 2, 2023 at 11:28 pm

“Tell all the Jews to abandon their homes, businesses, communities, and community institutions (with all the capital investment that requires) and somewhere else.”

Where have we heard that one before? (BYW, anyone whose immediate response was Germany probably doesn’t know much Jewish history.)

Replicating a Jewish community (not to say hundreds of them) is not so easily done. It may sometimes be necessary but is no substitute to preventing or stopping the repression that makes it necessary.

E Howard Hunt | April 3, 2023 at 8:43 am

The school should just defy the order. In my city a Jewish-Sect school didn’t pay its city water bills and other assorted fees for years, running into the six figures. It was threatened with a taking by sheriffs, but after crying antisemitism, all amounts were forgiven and the matter dropped.

The basic problem remains that the trial court decision is correct, and therefore is unlikely to be overturned by any court. YU, by its own decision, is not a religious institution, and is therefore not entitled to the exemption from the NY Human Rights Law that is built right into that law. All it has to do in order to claim that exemption is to reverse its original sin from 55 years ago, and return to being a religious institution. Change its charter and bylaws back to what they were, or just add a declaration to the current ones that the institution’s purpose is to propagate the Orthodox Jewish religion and way of life, and this whole lawsuit would disappear. While it’s about it, re-merge with the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, which it spun off 55 years ago as an independent entity. But so long as YU insists on remaining as a secular institution it should damn well obey the same laws that every other NYC institution must obey.

And its first amendment claim is just bullshit. It is not true that giving the plaintiff the same status as all other student clubs “would force Yeshiva to make a ‘statement’ in support of an interpretation of Torah with which the University disagrees”. No statement of any kind is required or involved. The university is not making a statement when it recognizes any of the other student clubs. And in fact its graduate schools, which already recognize identical clubs, explicitly state that such recognition does not constitute endorsement. So claiming that giving the same recognition to the undergrad club would be an endorsement is not plausible and is an outright lie.

    stevewhitemd in reply to Milhouse. | April 3, 2023 at 12:37 pm

    Correct. Religious universities cannot be forced to endorse statements that are against its foundational beliefs — that’s the religious freedom clause of 1A. But Yeshiva is no longer a religious university so it doesn’t have that shelter.

    Yeshiva wants it both ways — typical of universities these days.

This decision is illegitimate and should be treated as such.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that Kananaugh and Roberts sided with the liberals in denying a stay when the university went to the Supreme Court. The liberal judges vote liberal 100% of the time–what will it take to keep Republican nominated judges conservative (or to determine whether they were conservative when nominated)?

I think it’s cute how Roberts pretends that all judges simply interpret the law. Must just be a coincidence that when you read about an outrageous ruling (see nation-wide injunctions) and research the judge, the off-the-reservation (can you even say that any more?) judges are usually Clinton, Obama, or Biden appointees.

Steven Brizel | April 3, 2023 at 9:50 am

i think that the NY court focused on the legal formalities with respect to the contents of the charter as opposed to the evidentiary facts on the ground that show that students are expected to adhere to Jewish Law . Noone expected the woke NY courts to side wirth YU and YU should take no prisoners and seek as much discovery as possible which will show that the Plaintiffs are intent on destroying a the entire structure of YU as a religiously based university and then seek relief from the SCOTUS and the majority thereat

The following is another example of what the Plaintiffs are doing in this caseto stall the case from proceeding to a trial on the merits. The Plaintiffs are resisting discovery of their past mental health providers. But, since the Plaintiffs allege all sorts of mental illness and psychological and psychiaric claims,. why should not their prior records of treatment for the same be subject to discovery like any other plaintiff whose physician patient privilege is waived by the commencement of a lawsuit under long standing NY law?

    Milhouse in reply to Steven Brizel. | April 3, 2023 at 10:17 am

    i think that the NY court focused on the legal formalities with respect to the contents of the charter as opposed to the evidentiary facts on the ground that show that students are expected to adhere to Jewish Law .

    The only relevant question is whether YU is a religious institution, and on that question the charter and bylaws are all that count and all that should count.

“Unless a stay is granted, Yeshiva will be required to recognize …”

And what if it doesn’t recognize? What?? Will the admin be criminally charged? Taken to jail? Personally fined?

Then why is that not a two-way street for those   who force the loss of Yeshiva Univ. First Amendment rights? Why??

SCOTUS:  “Yeshiva would likely win if its case came before us.”

Unless or until people persecuting Yeshiva U. (including judges, lawyers, plaintiffs, etc.) are fined or imprisoned for egregiously and aggressively depriving others their civil rights, it’s all merely **clown world**

JackinSilverSpring | April 3, 2023 at 2:27 pm

Besides the option of leaving NYS, should YU not get relief in the US Supreme Court, it can simply shut down all clubs. Then, it would be discriminating against no one.

    It threatened to do just that at the beginning of this academic year. The plaintiffs didn’t want to do that to all the other clubs, so they agreed not to seek an injunction to have their club recognized immediately, and the university agreed to let all the other clubs continue while the case is heard.

      JackinSilverSpring in reply to Milhouse. | April 3, 2023 at 8:57 pm

      I know that, but that was then, and this now. Should YU ultimately be forced by NYS to do something that it views as abhorrent, and it does not receive reflief in the US Supreme Court, one way out is as I said, shut down all clubs. The other choice you have suggested for it, which is to merge with RIETS, is possible, but very expensive (as would be a move to Republican dominated state). The short run, least cost option would be shutting down the clubs. Aside from that, given the trajectory NYS is on at the present, a lot of institutions are going to have to rethink staying there, YU included.

They can shut the whole thing down and open a new university. Homosexuals don’t reproduce and are self extinguishing. Jews are a very small minority that need children to survive and grow.