Saturday, December 02, 2006

Second Circuit Hears RLUIPA Case From Mamaroneck, NY

Yesterday, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in a long-running RLUIPA case in which the Village of Mamaroneck, New York is seeking to use its zoning laws to block construction of a new building by the Westchester Jewish Day School. The trial court ruled in favor of the school. (See prior posting.) The Westchester Journal News reports that Kevin Plunkett, the village's attorney, argued yesterday that the lower court's decision gives religious schools an unfair advantage over secular ones. He also argued that that RLUIPA, as it was applied by the trial court, violates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. The U.S. Department of Justice has entered the case on the side of the school. Barry Welprin, a former zoning board member who voted in favor of the school's expansion charged that the majority of the board "did not approach this project with an open mind."