Sunday, March 11, 2012

Orange Bureau Confidential: KJ dissidents appeal November ruling 

Kiryas Joel residents who sued to dissolve the village last year, claiming widespread discrimination against dissident community members, filed an appeal last week challenging a court ruling in November that struck down all but one of their claims.

A group of parties brought the case in federal court last year to argue that religious and public roles are so entangled in the Satmar Hasidic community that it amounts to an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

They also claimed they were being denied equal protection, since the village government effectively functioned as a secular arm of the community's main congregation, Yetev Lev. They, too, are Satmar members, but reject the leadership of Satmar Grand Rebbe Aron Teitelbaum.

Attorneys for the village and main congregation called the case a hodgepodge of old grievances that had already been tried and dismissed in state courts — hardly proof of "pervasive discrimination," as the plaintiffs alleged .

U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff largely sided with the defendants. Rather than press the one claim he allowed to stand, dissidents have brought their full complaint to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

"The complaint clearly shows sufficient grounds for the conclusion that the village and congregation, acting together, have established a state religion in Kiryas Joel to the detriment of the plaintiffs," Michael Sussman, the dissidents' attorney, wrote in a brief filed on Monday.

Sussman disputes Rakoff's view that claims had already been tried and therefore couldn't be litigated again. He notes that the village government hadn't been implicated in the alleged discrimination in previous cases, and that doing so now supported the allegation of church-state mingling.


KJ is totally religiously led and if you are not a follower of their Rabbi then you are not good enough. Can be fired from your job.
Just driving into town there are rules on how to dress, and where to stand.


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