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Congregation Kol Ami v. Abington Township
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
An ordinance in Abington Township, Pennsylvania (Defendant) required religious institutions seeking to locate in residential neighborhoods to apply for a variance with the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) of Abington while other entities, such as kennels, municipal complexes, and utility facilities, were permitted to locate in such areas by special exemption. Filing of a variance required the religious institution to demonstrate unnecessary hardship while a special exemption merely required an entity to show that the zoning ordinance permitted the use and that the particular use applied for was consistent with the public interest. A Reform Jewish Synagogue, the Congregation Kol Ami (Plaintiff), applied to the ZHB for a variance or special exemption to operate a house of worship in a residential area. The ZHB denied Plaintiff’s request, even though Plaintiff’s property had served a religious purpose since 1951, first as a Catholic house of worship and then Greek Orthodox. The latter was given a variance to conduct religious activities by the ZHB. Plaintiff wanted to expand religious services and the synagogue’s parking lot. Plaintiff sued the Defendant alleging violations of the First Amendment, Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and the Pennsylvania Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Pa-RFRA). Plaintiff and the Township filed several motions. The court conducted a hearing on the motions.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
- Concurring / Dissenting Opinions: Includes valuable concurring or dissenting opinions and their key points.
- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.
- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.