Press Release

Enough is enough: Church asks Court to end bigotry Church urges court to reject opposing attorney’s ugly attack on church, Court, and religious minorities

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Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – A lawyer who last month unanimously lost his crusade to roll back constitutional protections for religious groups is trying again, filing a frivolous, abusive, and delinquent request for reconsideration that slanders the court, the Archdiocese of New York, and millions of religious minorities. Last month in Fratello v. Archdiocese of New York, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected the lawyer’s arguments, stating that Supreme Court precedent protects St. Anthony School and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, which must have the right to choose religious leaders free from government interference (watch video). The lawyer is now demanding a full court review of that decision. 

The opposing lawyer had previously accused the Catholic Church in court of being “dangerous to society” and concocted hypotheticals about Russian Orthodox churches that were “indoctrinating children with Stalinist communism.” Becket’s response to his new request, filed two weeks late, lists his outrageous arguments, including:

  • comparing the Archdiocese to “slave owners” and the panel opinion to Dred Scott  
  • stating that millions of parochial school children “will immediately be placed at risk” of “child abuse” by “fringe, radical, fundamentalist” religious schools as result of “the Panel’s ruling”  
  • warning that “the Opinion” enables religious leaders “to propagandize and brainwash impressionable children” in a manner that renders the children “intolerant, xenophobic, [and] hateful toward others”  
  • insinuating that, given “the insular nature of certain ultra-Orthodox sects of Judaism in the New York metropolitan area,” the “Panel’s view” could lead to “children . . . being neglected or abused (educationally or otherwise)” 
  • threatening to disregard this Court’s ruling and drag the Archdiocese through more vexatious litigation in state court “because the N.Y.S. Court of Appeals will undoubtedly agree” with Fratello’s position that the panel opinion threatens “the Bill of Rights and our Democracy” 

 “Enough is enough. The Court was already exceedingly gracious to overlook the ugly anti-religious attacks last time around, but now things have gotten even worse,” said Daniel Blomberg, counsel at Becketwhich represents St. Anthony School and the Archdiocese.  “The Court does not need to allow itself to be used as a forum for such bigotry any longer.” 

As principal of St. Anthony School, Joanne Fratello was responsible for leading students in prayer and ensuring the curriculum and teachers expressed the school’s Catholic faith. When St. Anthony School believed she was no longer effective at promoting the school’s beliefs, it simply did not renew her contract, rightfully exercising its right to choose leaders who best advance its faith. Fratello’s ensuing lawsuit lost at the district court and before the three-judge panel. Her attorney is now trying to continue to drag the lawsuit out further.

Becket represents St. Anthony School and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals along with James P. McCabe and Roderick J. Cassidy of the Archdiocese and Kenneth Novikoff and Barry Levy of Rivkin Radler LLP. 

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, please contact Melinda Skea at  or 202-349-7224. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. 


Becketis a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditionsand has a 100% win-rate before the United StatesSupreme Court.For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, includingBuddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians(read more).