Yeshiva University Loses at Supreme Court, For Now

Yeshiva University will have to recognize the ‘Pride Alliance’ student group, at least until it exhausts its appeals in New York State courts.

AP/J. Scott Applewhite, file
The Supreme Court at Washington, July 14, 2022. AP/J. Scott Applewhite, file

Yeshiva University will have to recognize the “Pride Alliance” student group, at least until it exhausts its appeals in New York State courts. That was the upshot of a 5-4 ruling Wednesday that saw Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice Roberts join with the court’s left flank.  

The majority promised that “if applicants seek and receive neither expedited review nor interim relief from the New York Courts, they may return to this Court.”

The Pride Alliance describes itself as comprised of “LGBTQ+ students and allies” that aims to “provide a supportive space at YU for students of all sexual orientations & gender identities.” Yeshiva said its presence is  “inconsistent with the school’s Torah values and the religious environment it seeks to maintain.”

The dissenters in today’s ruling, an opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, lamented that “it is disappointing that a majority of this Court refuses to provide relief.” 

Justice Alito argues that the First Amendment “prohibits a State from enforcing its own preferred interpretation of Holy Scripture.” He explains that as a result of the ruling, “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.”

In a candid admission, Justice Alito explains that “at least four of us are likely to grant certiorari” if Yeshiva exhausts its Empire State options and returns to the high court, and that in such a scenario “Yeshiva would likely win if its case came before us.” 

In countering the majority’s view that Yeshiva can wait for the legal process to take its course, Justice Alito writes that “the loss of First Amendment rights for even a short period constitutes irreparable harm” and that a state’s “imposition of its own mandatory interpretation of scripture is a shocking development that calls out for review.” 

The dissent notes that it doubts Yeshiva’s return to state court will be “fruitful,” and insists that it is “our duty to stand up for the Constitution even when doing so is controversial.”

The New York Sun

© 2023 The New York Sun Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The material on this site is protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used.

The New York Sun

Sign in or  Create a free account

By continuing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use