Bronx Household of Faith, et al. v. Board of Education, No. 07-5291 (2d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Defendants appealed from an order of the district court granting summary judgment to plaintiffs and entering a permanent injunction barring the Board of Education of the City of New York ("Board") from enforcing a rule that prohibited outside groups from using school facilities after hours for "religious worship services." At issue was whether the rule constituted viewpoint discrimination in violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. The court held that because the rule did not exclude expressions of religious points of view or of religious devotion, but excluded for valid non discriminatory reasons only a type of activity, the conduct worship services, the rule did not constitute viewpoint discrimination. The court also held that because defendants reasonably sought by this rule to avoid violating the Establishment Clause, the exclusion of religious worship services was a reasonable content-based restriction, which did not violate the Free Speech Clause. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court was reversed and the injunction barring enforcement of the rule against plaintiffs was vacated.