The Legal Advocacy Project of the

Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey


American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey et. al. v. Rochelle Hendricks et. al., Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, General Equity Part: Mercer County (Docket No. C-82-13)

This case concerns religious freedom. The specific question is whether the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education should be allowed to provide government bond issue funding for religious schools. The UULMNJ has joined the ACLU-NJ, among others, as a party plaintiff.

Hassan v. City of NY (14-1688, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit)

This case concerns the New York City Police Department’s surveillance of the Muslim community in New Jersey following the attacks of September 11, 2001.The UULMNJ is a party to the amicus brief.

DNA Database and Databank Rules (NJAC 13:81 et seq.)

The Legal Advocacy Project submitted comments to the proposed revision of regulations regarding DNA testing of minors who are arrested. NJAC 13:81 et seq. The Legal Advocacy Project’s comments were filed on or about March 4, 2015. The State of New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Division of State Police responded to the UULMNJ’s and other’s comments in the Federal Register Post dated July 6, 2015.                                                                                                               

Piscataway Twp. Bd. of Educ. v. David C. Hespe, Superior Court of New Jersey, App. Div. (Docket No. A-005890-13T4)

This case raises the question of whether the Commissioner of Education has the legal authority to lower charter school tuition payments when a charter school spends less than budgeted and accumulates surplus in excess of what an “under adequacy” public school district itself is allowed to maintain. The UULMNJ has been granted the right to file an amicus brief and has also been given the right to provide oral argument to the Appellate Court on the issues.

Fair Share Housing

The Legal Advocacy Project has been working with the Economic Justice Task Force (“EJTF”) to help Fair Share Housing implement the extensive revisions to the enforcement landscape of affordable housing in New Jersey. In In Re: The Adoption of NJAC 5:96 and 5:97 by the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing,            N.J.       (2015), the Supreme Court essentially took over the implementation of the Fair Housing protections from the Council on Affordable Housing and placed the responsibility for implementation upon the court system itself.

State of New Jersey v. James Comer, Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division: Essex County (Indictment No. 03-01-0231)

This case concerns the matter of a juvenile offender’s sentence essentially equating to life without parole since he would not be eligible for parole until he was eighty-six years old. The decision was made that the Defendant is entitled to re-sentencing.

Proposed Aggressive Panhandling Ordinance in New Brunswick

The town of New Brunswick is seeking to enact an ordinance to prevent aggressive panhandling. This would limit panhandlers from begging within twenty-five feet of a bus stop, ATM or the like. This essentially is a ban on panhandling in general because of the overlap of these twenty-five foot radiuses. The LAP is monitoring this situation to ascertain if there is a need to intervene legally.

PARCC Test High School Graduation Requirement

Previously, students had to pass the HESPA test and, if they failed, could take an alternate exam which was offered in foreign languages for non-native English speakers. The PARCC test arguably prejudices non-native English speakers and poorer populations, since the PARCC test is only offered in English, and if one fails the PARCC test, their only option is to pass the SAT/ACT, which one must pay for. The LAP is monitoring this situation to ascertain if there is a need to intervene legally.

Attorney General Directive on Body Cameras

The NJ Attorney General has issued a directive regarding body cameras for police officers. One of the key issues is the usefulness of these cameras as an accountability tool if the public/press do not have access to the footage. The LAP is monitoring this situation to ascertain if there is a need to intervene legally.