BOARD OF EDUC.KIRYAS JOEL VILLAGE SCHOOL v. GRUMET

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
93-517
Petitioner 
Board of Educ.Kiryas Joel Village School
Respondent 
Grumet
Consolidation 
No. 93-527
No. 93-539
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the state petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the school district petitioners)
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
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Facts of the Case 

In 1989, the New York legislature passed a school districting law that intentionally drew its boundaries in accordance with the boundaries of the Village of Kiryas Joel, a religious enclave of Satmar Hasidim who practice a strict form of Judaism. Shortly before the new district commenced operations, the taxpayers and the association of state school boards embarked on a lawsuit claiming that the statute created a school district that limited access only to residents of Kiryas Joel.

Question 

Did the 1989 statute violate the First Amendment's Establishment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for Grumet, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Establishment of Religion

Yes. In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that the statute's purpose was to exclude all but those who lived in and practiced the village enclave's extreme form of Judaism. This exclusionary intent failed to respect the Establishment Clause's requirement that states maintain a neutral position with respect to religion, because it clearly created a school zone which excluded those who were non-religious and/or did not practice Samtar Hasidism. Indeed, the very essence of the Establishment Clause is that government should not demonstrate a preference for one religion over another, or religion over non-religion in general.

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BOARD OF EDUC.KIRYAS JOEL VILLAGE SCHOOL v. GRUMET. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 21 April 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1993/1993_93_517>.
BOARD OF EDUC.KIRYAS JOEL VILLAGE SCHOOL v. GRUMET, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1993/1993_93_517 (last visited April 21, 2014).
"BOARD OF EDUC.KIRYAS JOEL VILLAGE SCHOOL v. GRUMET," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 21, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1993/1993_93_517.