Professor Michael Helfand, "Who Gets to Say What is Kosher?" -- Forward Magazine
Professor Michael A. Helfand's opinion article, "Who Get to Say What is Kosher? A Long Island Restaurant is Caught in the Crosshairs," is published in Forward magazine. The article considers the religious question doctrine that prohibits judges from resolving issues of religious practice.
Excerpt from "Who Get to Say What is Kosher? A Long Island Restaurant is Caught in the Crosshairs"
There are many different — and, sometimes, competing — justifications for this doctrine. But maybe the most intuitive version is that when a court picks one religious view over another, it is using the coercive power of the state to determine which version of a faith is the true faith. And that is tantamount to establishing religion, in contravention of the First Amendment.
This is why most courts have, for the past 70 years, consistently refused to resolve kosher cases. Consider the 2012 lawsuit accusing Hebrew National of falsely advertising its meats as kosher. Multiple courts dismissed the case, with a Minnesota judge concluding that “It would be unholy, indeed, for this or any other court to substitute its judgment on this purely religious question.”
The complete article may be found at Forward