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Connecticut Official Sees Hope for Accommodation in Court Ruling

Connecticut Attorney General Joseph Lieberman said that yesterday’s Supreme Court decision on a Connecticut Sabbath work statute indicated that the court realizes that government can play a role in “accommodating people’s religious beliefs.”

“I disagree,” Lieberman said in a statement issued today, “with the court in the degree to which that accommodation should take place but I am pleased that they do not reject the very notion of accommodation.”

The high court ruled by a vote of 8 to I against a Connecticut state law that required private employers to give Sabbath observers the right not to work on their Sabbath.

While saying he was “personally not as disappointed by the decision as I might have expected,” Lieberman said, “It is the friendliest rejection I have ever seen.” He also said “In this time when more families are working … I do not want the worker to have to choose between putting bread on the table for the family and religious observance.”

The American Jewish Congress, meanwhile, indicated that it did not anticipate that the Court’s ruling on the Connecticut statute would have an effect on other state and federal laws that protect religiously observant employes from discrimination on the job and “require employers to accommodate, within reasonable limits the religious observance of employes.”

“Although we disagree with the specific result in this case, we take comfort in the Supreme Court’s willingness to vindicate the principles of the Establishment Clause, and to reject efforts to weaken the principle of Church-state separation in the guise of religious accommodation,” the AJC said.

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