“Resist Jewish Power”: United States Supreme Court refuses to hear two separate cases regarding protests outside synagogue
The United States Supreme Court is reportedly refusing to hear two separate requests to take up a lawsuit against a group of protesters who regularly appear outside of a synagogue Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The protestors, who have conducted weekly rallies outside of the building since 2003, are alleged to be holding signs with inflammatory slogans, including “Jewish Power Corrupts” and “Resist Jewish Power”.
The plaintiffs belong to two separate congregations – the Beth Israel Congregation and the Pardes Hannah Congregation – whose services are both held in the same synagogue, with one of the complainants being a Holocaust survivor.
The result of the declined requests is that all remaining legal options against the demonstrations are seemingly now unavailable. The petitions argued that, because the protests were held outside a Jewish place of worship, the Jewish congregants’ First Amendment rights to freely exercise their religion were being violated.
After much legal debate, an earlier version of the case was dismissed by lower courts on First Amendment grounds. This led the presiding judge to order the plaintiffs to pay the protestors’ legal fees. However, earlier this year, the Ann Arbor City Council published a formal resolution condemning the protests and calling them antisemitic.
Attorney Nathan Lewin, who is Jewish, said that “I am shocked and dismayed that the Supreme Court and the court of appeals view antisemitic picketing timed and designed to harass and intimidate only when they come to pray – clearly protected by the First Amendment’s Religion Clause – as free speech that may not be curtailed.”
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