Earlier this week, Federal Judge Joanna Seybert threw out a Federal civil rights lawsuit brought by local parents against the Lawrence Board of Education.
The lawsuit claimed that a consolidation plan by the board to close the Number Six School and bring all of the district’s fifth graders into the Middle School was part of a wide-ranging conspiracy by the Orthodox Jewish community in Lawrence to promote Orthodox Jewish interests, thereby violating the clause in the First Amendment that calls for separation between Church and State.
In a 38-page decision that indicated both irritation and outrage, Judge Seybert described the lawsuit as “frivolous”, “nonsensical”, and “blatantly undemocratic.” In one instance, the word “irrelevant” appeared six times in what was little more than a single page.
“Nothing Plaintiffs have pled remotely resembles any violations of the First or Fourteenth Amendment — except, ironically, for Plaintiffs’ requested relief, which itself violates the First and Fourteenth Amendment[s],” wrote Judge Seybert.
She went on to say, that “the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees Orthodox Jews equal protection of the law. This includes the right to run for public office and enact otherwise constitutional policies that have majority support. To deny Orthodox Jews these rights simply because, as Plaintiffs allege, Orthodox Jews have different opinions from Lawrence’s other residents would be to discriminate against Orthodox Jews because they are Orthodox Jews. Any such discrimination would be Constitutionally and morally repugnant.”
The Orthodox Union applauds the decision of United States District Judge Joanna Seybert and recognizes the actions of the Federal District Court in this regard to have set an important precedent in the protection of persons of faith under the First Amendment.