As previously reported on TLS, the Department of Justice is suing Jackson Township for discriminating against Orthodox Jews by placing restrictions on religious schools and housing. Since the lawsuit was filed last May, we have heard nothing about Jackson officials willing to come to the table to settle with the DOJ. And they appear to be the only township being sued by the Justice Department for similar reasons who are refusing to negotiate.
In the past few weeks alone, both Toms River and the Village of Airmont have come to an agreement with Justice Department lawyers to settle their cases without the need for a trial. Those settlements in no way fulfilled all the needs of the Orthodox Jews living in the respective towns, particularly in Toms River, but they showed at least a measure of willingness on the part of local officials to make religious life possible for Orthodox Jews. Is Jackson doing the same? Not at all.
There is only one way to understand Jackson’s unwillingness to settle: they are stupid. Jackson officials are known to play games with Orthodox Jews – when an agreement to allow certain religious freedoms in Jackson was nearing completion, Jackson’s top officials walked away from the table, a move that directly led to the DOJ lawsuit. And now those same officials think they can trifle with the Justice Department. They are, in all likelihood, about to find out the hard way how silly and ignorant they are being.
But hey, stupid is as stupid does. It’s probably time to come to terms with reality: Jackson officials are so self-absorbed and full of hate for their friendly Orthodox Jewish neighbors that they can’t see the handwriting on the wall saying they will suffer a severe slapdown in court.