"Religious Worship Services" After-Hours in School Facilities Prohibited by NYC Rule and Sustained by Second Circuit


By a 2–1 vote, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit—in The Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York1—vacated a permanent injunction issued by a U.S. district court that had enjoined the enforcement of a policy prohibiting the use of the New York City Board of Education's school facilities after hours for "religious worship services." The Second Circuit's holding in favor of the Board of Education ended, at least for the moment, a decade-long battle over whether New York's public schools could be used for Sunday religious services.

The majority opinion, authored by Judge Leval, was based on: (i) the conclusion that the New York City Board of Education Rule did not constitute viewpoint discrimination because it did not seek to exclude expressions of religious points of view or of religious devotion, and (ii) the conclusion that the Board of Education reasonably sought to avoid a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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