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Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet

United States Supreme Court
512 U.S. 687 (1994)


In New York, a community of people practicing a sect of the Orthodox Jewish faith known as Satmar Hasidim lived in the village of Kiryas Joel. This community was known to make few concessions to the modern world and avoided assimilation. The majority of the children in the community attended private religious schools. Initially, the community arranged for its children with disabilities to be educated at an annex to one of the religious schools run by the public-school system. In 1985, the Supreme Court found a similar arrangement unconstitutional. The community then sent its children to a nearby public school. However, the community felt that the education was unsatisfactory. The children suffered from panic, fear, and trauma from attending a general New York public school. In response, the New York legislature enacted a specific law designating the community as its own separate school district. Grumet (plaintiff), an officer of the New York State School Boards Association, brought suit against the Kiryas Joel Village School District (defendant), arguing that the law violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Court of Appeals of the State of New York ruled that the law violated the prohibition of establishment, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Souter, J.)

Concurrence (O’Connor, J.)

Concurrence (Kennedy, J.)

Concurrence (Stevens, J.)

Dissent (Scalia, J.)

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