Albany, NY - Kosher Act Doesn’t Violate Constitution
Albany, NY - A New York law regulating the marketing and labeling of kosher food doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution, a federal appeals court ruled, rejecting a First Amendment challenge.
A three-judge panel of the court in New York today affirmed a lower-court ruling that upheld the law, which replaced an earlier version the court overturned in 2002. The appeals court said the Kosher Law Protection Act of 2004 doesn’t violate First Amendment provisions restricting laws relating to religion.
The Kosher Act merely requires food products marketed as kosher to be labeled as kosher,” U.S. Circuit Judge Christopher Droney wrote. “The Kosher Act does not entangle the state with religion because it does not require the state to enforce laws based on religious doctrine or to inquire into the religious content or religious nature of the products sold.”
The court also rejected a challenge to the law as unconstitutionally vague.
The new law was challenged in lawsuit by a Long Island deli and butcher shop, Commack Self-Service Kosher Meats Inc., that claimed it violated the First Amendment.
What is and is not kosher is a matter exclusively for Jewish law to determine, Commack said in the lawsuit. By requiring labels on food as kosher, and by sending out state inspectors to verify compliance, the state essentially attempted once again to define and enforce its own kosher standard, according to the complaint.
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