LITCHFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ The U.S. Justice Department has stepped in on the side of Jewish group suing Litchfield after being denied permission to build a synagogue in town.

Chabad Lubavich of Litchfield County, a conservative Hasidic group, filed suit in federal court in Bridgeport in 2009, alleging that the town’s denial of a building permit violated the terms of the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The act prohibits local governments from imposing zoning regulations that restrict religious freedom.

In January, lawyers for Litchfield filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the law is unconstitutional.

A lawyer for Chabad tells The Hartford Courant that the Justice Department’s intervention is “significant.”

A lawyer for Litchfield says the First Amendment does not allow municipalities to grant special indulgences to religious groups.
Information from: The Hartford Courant,

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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