A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by New York City to keep churches out of its public schools while a judge decides whether a city law banning them from its school buildings can be enforced.
But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals encouraged a lower court judge to act quickly after she ruled earlier this month that a small Bronx church can continue to meet in a public school for Sunday services, despite the city's threat to begin enforcing its ban on worship services in city schools. She later extended the order to include all of the roughly 40 churches meeting in public schools.
In a two-page order, the appeals court declined the city's request to block U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska from preventing enforcement while she hears the merits of a lawsuit brought by the Bronx Household of Faith.
She said the church was likely to win its First Amendment challenge and had demonstrated it would suffer irreparable harm if it could not continue to use Public School 15 for Sunday morning worship services.