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Department of Justice Slams Village of Airmont’s Legal Claims As “Inaccurate and Misleading” in Statement

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January 15, 2021

News Release
For Immediate Release: 1.15.21
Contact: Lacey McNiel, media@firstliberty.org
Direct: 972-941-4453

Department of Justice Slams Village of Airmont’s Legal Claims As “Inaccurate and Misleading” in Statement
First Liberty Institute filed a federal lawsuit in 2018 alleging systematic discrimination by Village forcing Orthodox Jewish community underground

Airmont, NY—Late yesterday, the United States Department of Justice filed a second Statement of Interest in a lawsuit filed by First Liberty Institute alleging religious discrimination against the Orthodox Jewish community by the Village of Airmont, NY. The Department’s statement highlights the Village’s thirty-year history of religious discrimination and clarifies that, contrary to the Village’s “inaccurate and misleading” assertions, the Department never approved the Village’s discriminatory zoning code.  In fact, the Department sued the Village last month over the same zoning code provisions. The Department’s statement yesterday was filed in Congregation of Ridnik, et al. v. Village of Airmont, et al.

“It is shocking that Village of Airmont officials continue to make false claims about the Department of Justice in legal documents,” said Keisha Russell, Counsel to First Liberty Institute. “We are grateful that the Department of Justice is bringing the full force of the federal government against the Village. It is passed time for the Village to cease its systematic discrimination against the Orthodox Jewish community.”

In December of 2018, First Liberty and the international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of several residents, including three Orthodox Jewish rabbis, alleging that the Village has engaged in systematic discrimination forcing Orthodox Jewish residents to practice their faith in hiding in a deliberate effort to dissuade them from staying in or moving to Airmont.  In December 2019, the Department of Justice filed its first Statement of Interest in the case, challenging the Village’s claim that the government had approved the Village’s zoning scheme.  In recent legal filings, the Village repeated the same claim.

In December 2020, the Department of Justice filed a separate lawsuit against Airmont.

To read the statement from the Department of Justice, click here.

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About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at media@firstliberty.org or by calling 972-941-4453.

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