Eight National Orthodox Jewish organizations have filed an amicus curiae brief with the New Jersey Supreme Court urging the court to validate a state building construction grant to Lakewood’s Beth Medrash Govoha (BMG) that was ruled unconstitutional by a lower court for violating constitutional provisions requiring church-state separation.
This, even though BMG otherwise qualified for the grant at least as much as other grantees that had no religious affiliation. Plainly BMG was not being favored because of the affiliation; if anything, it was being discriminated against because of it.
The brief was written by the preeminent advocate for Jewish religious rights Nathan Lewin, on behalf of COLPA, the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs. Signing on to the brief were the Agudas Harabbanim of the United States and Canada, Agudath Israel of America, National Council of Young Israel, Rabbinical Alliance of America, Rabbinical Council of America, Torah Umesorah-National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. Gedalia Stern, a lawyer who practices in the New Jersey courts, was on the brief.
The case could well result in a legal breakthrough for the notion that all similarly situated schools must be treated equally by the state. Mr. Lewin’s brief certainly makes a compelling argument for this conclusion.