On Tuesday, April 4, 2017 partners Jonathan Nelson and Barry Black participated in a Brooklyn Law School panel entitled Religion, Media & the Law. The event was presented by the school’s Christian Legal Society, Muslim Law Students Association and Jewish Law Students Association, and was moderated by Professor Nelson Tebbe. Other panelists were Akiva Shapiro of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, LLP and Omar T. Mohammedi of the Law Firm of Omar T. Mohammedi.
Nelson Madden Black partner, Jonathan Nelson, recently joined the board of the New York Chapter of the Christian Legal Society. At last Monday’s meeting, we heard an update on Open Hands Legal Services from board member Haejin A. Shim, and shared fellowship over pizza.
Jonathan notes that at the next meeting, tentatively planned for late March, “We will be discussing the concept of ‘sanctuary’ and whether it is reflected in current law.”
In Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, the Supreme Court is set to decide whether the church-plan exemption to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) applies so long as an otherwise-qualifying church-affiliated organization maintains a pension plan, and whether the exemption applies only if a church initially established the plan. This case is expected to be argued in the Spring of 2017. Will the Supreme Court vacancy be filled by then, and how could that affect the outcome? Stay tuned!
Jonathan Nelson was one of the speakers at a seminar held at the Central Presbyterian Church in New York City by the Christian Legal Society on October 24, 2016. The seminar was attended by local pastors and other church administrators and lay leaders. Mr. Nelson spoke on the topic of “Real Estate Issues in the Church Life Cycle.”
By: Emma Bechara
A Look at California Legislation on Academic Institutions with Religious Affiliations
Should academic institutions that are controlled by religious organizations be subject to state anti-discrimination laws? What if the anti-discrimination laws are in direct conflict with the fundamental tenets of a religious organization? These are two of the key questions at the center of the recently-passed Senate Bill 1146 (“SB 1146”), signed into law in California on September 30, 2016 by Governor Jerry Brown. Unsurprisingly, its enactment has been met with impassioned debate from both sides of the fence; notably on the one side by Equality California and on the other by religiously-affiliated private postsecondary institutions. For such significant legislation, little has been reported or discussed on its enactment. Against this backdrop, this post provides both a brief overview of the bill and its federal equivalent, and some food for thought about whether the bill passes muster under the United States Constitution.
What is SB 1146?
Senator Ricardo Lara, the bill’s author, argues that legislation in the form of SB 1146 is necessary because, as it stands, universities are using federally authorized exemptions from Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) as a means to discriminate against students, particularly against those who are transgender and homosexual. In the Continue reading “California’s SB 1146: A Threat to Religious Freedom?”
Yesterday a state appellate court in Brooklyn, New York upheld the governance of the Geeta Temple, in New York City, by its current trustees and religious leader, Swami Satyanandji. In a case entitled Temple-Ashram v. Satyanandji, the Second Department upheld a trial court decision that dismissed a lawsuit brought by four former devotees of the temple who claimed to be the “lawfully appointed trustees” of the Temple. The court found that:
. . . the Supreme Court correctly found that … the plaintiffs failed to establish their standing to prosecute this action pursuant to Religious Corporations Law §§ 180, 181, and, 182. While the individual plaintiffs asserted that they had been validly appointed as trustees at an October 2005 meeting held by Swami Continue reading “Victory for Nelson Madden Black Client”