Twenty years ago, in the middle of the night and on the last day of session, the New York State Legislature created a publicly funded school district to cater to the interests of a religious sect – the Satmar community of Kiryas Joel in Orange County, New York. It marked the first time in American history that a governmental unit was established for a religious group, prompting years of litigation, a journey through every layer of the New York courts and trip to the United States Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark church-state decision.

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