Saturday, February 07, 2015

2nd Circuit OK's Differential Child Protection Requirements In Public and Private Schools

In U.L. v. New York State Assembly, (2d Cir., Feb. 5, 2015), the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a minor student enrolled in a Nassau county yeshiva and by her father claiming that students' equal protection, due process and free exercise rights are violated  by the state legislature's exclusion of private schools (including religious schools) from some of the state child protection requirements that are mandatory in public schools. (See prior posting). The district court dismissed on sovereign and legislative immunity grounds.  The 2nd Circuit in affirming and refusing to allow plaintiffs to replead the case said:
Assuming U.L. could successfully plead around the immunity doctrines, his claims would still fail as a matter of law. The challenged child-protection laws, which are unquestionably secular, are equally inapplicable to all private schools, religious and secular. Nothing about them offends the Establishment or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment....
U.L.’s claims under the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment likewise fail, because the laws neither target a suspect class nor impair the exercise of a fundamental right, and easily pass muster under rational basis review.
[Thanks to Elliot Pasik for the lead.]