Bronx Household v. Board of Education, No. 12-2730 (2d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
The Board and School District appealed from the district court's grant of summary judgment permanently enjoining defendants from enforcing Reg. I.Q. Reg. I.Q. governs the "extended use" of school facilities outside of school hours by outside organizations and individuals. The district court found that enforcement of Reg. I.Q. to exclude religious worship services would violate the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses. The court concluded that the Free Exercise Clause did not entitle Bronx Household to a grant from the Board of a subsidized place to hold religious worship services; the Supreme Court's ruling in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah that invidiously discriminatory ordinances targeting a religious practice of a particular religion were subject to strict scrutiny had no application to Reg. I.Q.; if the Board has a reasonable, good faith concern that making its school facilities available for the conduct of religious worship services would give rise to a substantial risk of violating the Establishment Clause, the permissibly of the Board's refusal to do so did not turn on whether such use of school facilities would in fact violate the Establishment Clause; and therefore, Reg. I.Q. did not violate plaintiffs' rights to free exercise of religion, whether or not it was subject to strict scrutiny. The court also concluded that the district court erred in concluding that Reg. I.Q. violates the Establishment Clause because it compelled the Board to become excessively entangled with religion by deciding what were religious worship services. The court considered Bronx Household's other arguments and found them to be without merit. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment of the district court and vacated the injunction barring enforcement of Reg. I. Q.