Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with the three unwaveringly liberal justices in a ruling Wednesday, and that means no buildings will burn today.
In the 5-4 decision, the Court denied the blockage of a state court order that requires New York’s Yeshiva University to officially recognize an LGBTQ student group.
Simply put, the majority compelled the university to seek out options at the state level before bothering them again. In the meantime, Yeshiva University must treat the LGBTQ student group with the same regard as they would a Star Trek (the Next Generation, duh) club. Why the High Court agreed to hear the arguments at all is for legal scholars to debate.
“Applicants Yeshiva University and its president seek emergency relief from a non-final order of the New York trial court, requiring the University to treat an LGBTQ student group similarly to other student groups in its student club recognition process,” the majority opinion read.
“The application is denied because it appears that applicants have at least two further avenues for expedited or interim state court relief,” they added.
Last week, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees New York cases, temporarily stayed the state court order with the expectation the Court would revisit the issue.
Justice Samuel Alito was joined by justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett in the dissenting opinion.
“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,” read the dissent. “Yet that is exactly what New York has done in this case.”
“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 justices wrote.
The four dissenting justices added in a confusing fashion that a return to the Supreme Court on appeal would likely yield a win for Yeshiva.
Eric Baxter, who represents the university, said that in the meantime officials would “follow the Court’s instruction.”
“Today the Supreme Court instructed Yeshiva University to make an additional effort to get the New York courts to grant them emergency relief and made clear that if that protection is not provided, they can return to the Supreme Court to seek its protection again,” said Baxter.
Ever the man as God perhaps intended, Justice Alito closed his dissent by saying, “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. For these reasons, I respectfully dissent.”
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