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Employee Penalized By Airports Authority For Passover Files Amicus Trump Travel Ban Case

June 15th 2017

Nathan Lewin and Alyza D. Lewin

Lewin & Lewin filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Trump travel ban litigation to alert the Supreme Court to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ conflicting rulings and the  double standard demonstrated by 10 appellate judges  between  a claim of religious anti-Muslim discrimination and a comparable claim of religious bias made by an Orthodox Jewish woman. Susan Abeles’ friend-of-the-court brief demonstrates the disparity in the Fourth Circuit between the summary rejection of her claim of anti-Jewish religious employment discrimination and the Fourth Circuit’s approval of claimed anti-Muslim bias in the Presidential travel ban.

After working for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for 26 years, Susan Abeles lost her job for observing Passover, an important Jewish religious holiday. A Virginia federal district court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Ms. Abeles. Ms. Abeles’ appeal to the Fourth Circuit was supported by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the American Jewish Committee, and the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs.

Ms. Abeles intends to file a petition for a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States on or before July 23, 2017. Her petition will defend her right, and the right of all employees, to observe religious holidays. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority claims to be exempt from state and federal Religious Freedom Restoration Acts.

Ms. Abeles’ first-person account of her story is available here http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/civil-rights/332375-why-was-this-passover-different-from-all-other-passovers.

Nathan Lewin said, “This amicus brief should awaken the Supreme Court to the danger of double-standard appellate decisions. In today’s American society Muslim claims that appear ‘politically correct’ are approved while more compelling Jewish claims of discrimination are viewed as inconsequential and brushed aside.”


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