NJ Supreme Court remanded case to Sec of Higher Ed to develop more facts regarding state funding of yeshiva and seminary

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on a case concerning taxpayer grants that the state awarded in 2013 to two institutions with missions focused on sectarian religious education and training. The court remanded the issue to the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education to develop more facts of the case, giving advocates from the ACLU-NJ, national ACLU, and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State an opportunity to present details regarding the religious nature of the institutions and their planned use of the grant funds.

In 2013, the Christie administration pledged $10.6 million to Beth Medrash Govoha and $645,323 to Princeton Theological Seminary. In addition to violating the Constitution’s prohibition on taxpayer funding going to maintain a ministry, the ACLU-NJ, ACLU, and AU allege that the funding violates the state’s Law Against Discrimination by giving taxpayer money to institutions that the organizations believe limit enrollment to members of sectarian faiths, and, in the yeshiva’s case, comprise a student body that consists only of Orthodox Jewish men.

The following joint statement, issued on behalf of ACLU-NJ, ACLU, and Americans United, can be attributed to ACLU-NJ Legal Director Ed Barocas: 

“The Court has now afforded us the opportunity to show that taxpayer-funded grants to the yeshiva and seminary would go to support religious education and training, which our Constitution forbids. We believe the facts are on our side: Both the yeshiva and seminary train ministers of their respective faiths and teach from a sectarian point of view. Taxpayer dollars cannot support that.”