The Yale Law School Free Exercise Clinic co-authored an amici curiae brief in support of Amish plaintiffs’ challenge of a law compelling them to use modern septic systems for certain wastewater disposal in violation of their religious beliefs forgoing technology. On July 2, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the plaintiffs and sent the case back to a lower court.
In Mast v. County of Fillmore, the Court vacated the decision of the Minnesota Court of Appeals and instructed the lower court to reconsider that decision, with multiple separate concurrences. The Free Exercise Clinic, in partnership with Sidley Austin LLP, authored the only amicus brief in support of the petition. The Clinic represented the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty (JCRL) and the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom in supporting a remand in the case. Counsel for the plaintiffs emphasized the importance of the clinic’s brief in the outcome.
“I was incredibly pleased to learn the Yale Free Exercise Clinic was going to be filing an amicus brief on behalf of the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty and National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom,” said Brian Lipford, who represented the Mast plaintiffs through Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, a legal aid team for low-income individuals. Lipford noted that his legal aid office had never before filed a religious liberty case.