Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Jury Questions Remain In Town Hall Bar Mitzvah Challenge

In Whitnum v. Town of Greenwich, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115617 (D CT, Aug. 19, 2014), a Connecticut federal district court refused to grant summay judgment to plaintiff who complained that the Town of Greenwich and its First Selectman allowed a bar mitzvah to take place in the Greenwich Town Hall, but denied similar requests from other religious groups. At issue was the ceremony for three Israeli exchange students after an Israeli Independence Day ceremony. In plaintiff's Establishment Clause challenge, the court held that substantial fact questions remain for the jury as to whether the ceremony amounted to an endorsement of religion by the city.