NEWS RELEASE - JULY 16, 1994 KIRYAS JOEL: IS GOVERNMENT FOR SPECIAL INTERESTS? Quick actio
NEWS RELEASE - JULY 16, 1994
KIRYAS JOEL: IS GOVERNMENT FOR SPECIAL INTERESTS?
Quick action by Governor Mario Cuomo signed into law pieces of
legislation designed to counteract the United States Supreme
Court decision in the Kiryas Joel case less than two weeks
previously. One bill allows the special school district set up
for Satmar Hasidic Jews to remain in operation. The other
creates criteria which probably no other village could meet and
allows such a village to set up its own school district.
"This appears to us as if our state government were thumbing
noses at the Supreme Court," said Charles H. Sumner, president
of Rochester Chapter, Americans United for Separation of Church
and State. The Supreme Court in a 6 to 3 decision on June 27
said that the New York State Legislature had violated the
separation of church and state by establishing such a school
district. We do not think that our elected representatives
should turn around and validate it again, requiring another
In six months lawmakers failed to deal adequately with crime,
low-level nuclear waste, AIDS and newborns, public works
projects, the Wicks Law. They left the budget hanging for 69
days. Yet in less than two weeks they were able to enact and
sign special-interest legislation which violates our
To their credit a handful of legislators opposed these bills.
Among these were Senators John B. Daly (R-Lewiston), Richard
Dollinger (D- Brighton), Mary Ellen Jones (D-Irondequoit) and
Assemblypersons Elizabeth Hoffman (R-Tonawanda) and Susan John
The purpose of the legislature in creating the special district
was to yield to the demands of a religious community which has
separatist tenets. Statements from the Court's decision said
"... government should not prefer one to religion to another,
or religion to irreligion." New York's act "... crosses the
line from permissible accommodation to impermissible
establishment." It "... brings about an impermissible 'fusion'
of governmental and religious functions."
Americans United believes in fair and equal treatment for all
religions and special treatment for none.
ROCHESTER CHAPTER AMERICANS UNITED
FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
31 APPIAN DRIVE, ROCHESTER NY 14606-4717; 716-334-2989, 247-5587
CONTACT: CHARLES H. SUMNER, 334-2989; firstname.lastname@example.org---
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank