We recently posted about a lawsuit filed by Bergen Rockland Eruv Association, Inc. (“BREA”) against the Township of Mahwah, New Jersey, regarding a dispute over the expansion of an eruv. Since then, eruv disputes have evoked claims of religious discrimination against two other New Jersey municipalities: by BREA, against the Borough of Montvale, and by Agudath Israel of America Inc. (“Agudath Israel”), against the Township of Jackson.
In Montvale, BREA’s complaint, which alleges violations of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and RLUIPA’s substantial burden provision, came after the borough’s mayor issued a stop-work order on BREA’s eruv expansion project. According to the complaint, the expansion of the eruv would violate a borough “litter” ordinance that prohibits posting notices on lamp posts, public-utility poles, shade trees, or public structures or buildings.
The dispute in Jackson allegedly arose under similar circumstances – a newly enacted ordinance removes all exemptions from the town ordinance banning the placement of objects in the public right of way, effectively prohibiting the construction of an eruv. Agudath Israel, which originally filed suit against Jackson last spring (see our previous post about it here), recently amended its complaint to include this allegation. Specifically, Agudath Israel’s amended complaint alleges violations of RLUIPA’s non-discrimination, equal terms, and exclusions and limits provisions, as well as the First Amendment’s Free Exercise, Freedom of Association, and Establishment Clauses, the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, the Fair Housing Amendments Act, and New Jersey state law.