Agudath Israel of America hailed yesterday’s unanimous decision by the Clifton (New Jersey) City Council to settle their decade-old zoning discrimination case with Congregation Shomrei Torah. The $2.5 million settlement is one of the largest-ever recoveries under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The federal law, which was enacted in 2000, prohibits local zoning boards from imposing or implementing zoning and other land use regulations in a manner that significantly affects the free religious exercise of a person, assembly, or institution. The Congregation was represented pro bono by the Weil, Gotshal & Manges law firm.
“Agudath Israel of America helped draft RLUIPA,” explained Agudath Israel’s New Jersey director Rabbi Avi Schnall, “and we have been involved in several recent cases in New Jersey which have successfully employed this critical tool to protect religious liberty.”
NOTE: The Weil, Gotshal & Manges law firm issued a press release (see below) with a more detailed summary of the case.