I love it when karma shows up. The New York Sun posted an editorial yesterday about a religious freedom case argued before the Second United States Circuit Court or Appeals. I have absolutely no background in law, so I am going to rely heavily on what was stated in the editorial.
The editorial states:
When a case called New Hope Family Services showed up on the docket of the Second United States Circuit Court or Appeals, we perked up. It’s not just that we keep a weather eye for religious freedom cases (this one involves New York state’s attempt to force a Christian ministry to choose between its doctrine and its ability to place children in foster homes). We also perked up because of the three judges on the appeals panel.
They included two Democrats and a Republican — Edward Korman, a senior district judge sitting on the circuit bench; the legendary José Cabranes, probably the most senior active judge in the Circuit; and Reena Raggi, about whom we last wrote when we suggested she’d be an ideal candidate for the Supreme Court. It would be, we suspected, like watching a judicial version of “Field of Dreams.”
The New Hope Family Services was warned that if it did not state a willingness to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried couples, it would have to go out of business. The New Hope Family Services is a Christian group that believes in the teachings of the Bible, so obviously to agree to this would have been against their Biblical beliefs.
The editorial continues:
It was, at least to us, a shocking threat. It put New Hope, which is not government funded and has been in business for decades, in an impossible position. The pettifogging was too sophisticated for us and we started nodding off — until we heard the lawyer for New York state say, “It’s not a question of a Jewish family coming to the agency and being turned away because they’re Jewish.”
“But,” Judge Cabranes pointed out, “there’s no question that you’re preventing consideration of whether the adoptive parents are a same-sex couple as a result of the religious views of the agency.” Replied New York’s lawyer: “Yes.” Which prompted Judge Cabranes to ask: “You don’t think that there’s a suggestion here that the regulation is targeting religious groups?” New York state’s lawyer proceeded to reply: “No.”
“Because,” the state’s lawyer, Laura Etlinger, continued, the Second Circuit itself had said “the fact that there may be a disparate impact on religious organizations because of factual matters, they are the ones more likely to be affected, is not evidence of discrimination.” This is when Judge Raggi pointed out that the entities in that earlier case were not mainly religious.
In contrast, she noted, New Hope was contending that discovery in its case would disclose that the “vast majority, if not all” of the foster care and adoption agencies that “have had to go out of existence” are religious organizations.
“Do you dispute that?” Judge Raggi demanded.
“Well, in — it’s not in the record,” Ms. Etlinger replied, seeming to sense, suddenly, that she had been drawn into a trap.
The reason it wasn’t in the record, after all, was that the district court had dismissed New Hope’s complaint out of hand. Ms. Etlinger suggested that “to the extent there is an impact, because religious organizations are the ones that have a view about placement with same-sex couples does not mean that the agency was targeting those —” Her words hung in the air.
“Well,” Judge Raggi said, “isn’t that what discovery might reveal?”
The principle in question here is disparate impact as proof of bias. It is a legal principle often used by the political left to twist the law to get what they want. Please follow the link to read the entire editorial. It is wonderful to see the tactics of the political left used against them.
The editorial concludes:
Disparate impact is by no means the only angle the Second Circuit considered in New Hope. Nor is it our intention here to suggest that same-sex or unmarried couples are unsuitable for adoption. It is our intention to savor the irony that such a liberal concept as disparate impact might yet illuminate the First Amendment violations of a state trying to force a religious ministry to choose between, on the one hand, its beliefs and, on the other, its religious mission in respect of foster parenting and adoption.