October 24, 2011 6:56 pm at 6:56 pm #600138
What are your thoughts on the B110 busOctober 24, 2011 7:00 pm at 7:00 pm #821682TheGoqParticipant
I have none.October 24, 2011 7:10 pm at 7:10 pm #821683stuckMember
Their rabbonim said they should have a mechitza. Who are we to dare question the rabbonim shlit”a, even if some of us may have a different shitta.October 24, 2011 7:14 pm at 7:14 pm #821684stuckMember
It is a private bus operator, who does not receive one red cent from the city or any government agency. In fact, they PAY the city $22,000 a year for driving the route. A private bus has a constitutional right to adhere to their religious leaders religious beliefs.
Also, the passengers enforce the seperation, not the driver or bus company. The driver has no obligation to involve himself in conversation or interactions between passengers. In fact it would be dangerous for him to do so while driving.October 24, 2011 7:19 pm at 7:19 pm #821685Bar ShattyaMember
who caresOctober 24, 2011 7:48 pm at 7:48 pm #821686Leon NormansonMember
To be honest, there’s need for competition. I am a customer of theirs and don’t want to be a kafu tova, but my experience with a few of the drivers there were less than decent. Aggressive, abrupt, slamming doors in your face, screaming, ignoring inquiries – just to name a few. Not to “throw a stone after the fallen” I’m just suggesting honest competition…October 24, 2011 8:01 pm at 8:01 pm #821687Leon NormansonMember
America is a free country, let’s make sure we don’t lose it! Let’s not abuse it by wanting to have the cake and eat it – being recognized by the city and separate seating. each on it’s own is perfectly fine, just not together.
Regardless, there’s a need for competition.October 24, 2011 8:13 pm at 8:13 pm #821688
Whether they receive monies from the state or not is irrelevant.
What is relevant is that the line is run under a franchise agreement and, according to the MTA, gender segregation on the line is a direct violation of that agreement.
A private bus has a constitutional right to adhere to their religious leaders religious beliefs.
A bus has no constitutional rights whatsoever.
The operators of a bus line, on the other hand, do NOT have the “constitutional right” to put their religious beliefs ahead of their contractual agreements. Example: if you go to Dunkin’ Donuts and want to open a franchise, you will have to sign a franchise agreement with them. One feature of their franchise agreement is that the store must be open seven days a week. You cannot sign the agreement and then claim your right to close for Shabbos and not be in violation of the contract because of your “constitutional rights” to your religious beliefs.
The bus case here is no different. It doesn’t matter if you have a religious belief that transportation must be gender-segregated*. If the bus company signed a franchise/licensing agreement that such acts are in violation of the contract, then they are in violation, their religious beliefs notwithstanding.
* Of course, we all know that gender-segregated transportation is NOT required l’halacha. Thousands of frum people take the subway every day and no one considers them sinners for doing so.
The WolfOctober 24, 2011 8:22 pm at 8:22 pm #821689
Wolf: I believe you to be mistaken. Your comparison to Dunkin Donuts is invalid, as DD is a private entity while the City or State or MTA are public entities. A private entity does not (necessarily) have to respect your First Amendment Constitutional Rights. Yet a public entity cannot deny — even contractually — your First Amendment constitutional rights.October 24, 2011 8:28 pm at 8:28 pm #821690
I think they should have been chachamim, and put the women on the front of the bus and the men in back.
Much harder to challenge, even if legally the same exact thing.October 24, 2011 8:51 pm at 8:51 pm #821691yitayningwutParticipant
Hey Reb Wolf, people have been looking for you!October 24, 2011 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #821692bptParticipant
They need to add a few stops on the “other” side of the bridge, so the hipsters don’t need to traipse thru “our” side of the nabe, dressed the way they do.October 24, 2011 9:07 pm at 9:07 pm #821693ObaminatorMember
pba: Men can’t walk behind women, per Shulchan Aruch. So the men wouldn’t be able to walk in the back behind the women.
Besides, I don’t see any reason why it would it be any harder (or easier) to challenge by reversing it that way.October 24, 2011 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm #821695
Dr. Seuss: I believe you are mistaken. When you enter a franchise agreement, you are bound to keep all the conditions of said agreement. Especially if they are state law. No one is forcing you to enter such an agreement; ergo, there is no abridgement of rights. If you have a problem with the conditions of the agreement on religious grounds, you contest them – you CAN’T just ignore them. You can’t break laws in the name of the first amendment. There IS a legal process.
Another point: as per the ruling in Reynolds v. United States –
“Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.”
Good call, because then we’d have Muslims murdering all the infidels, saying that the first amendment allows them. Where to draw the line? I don’t know. But bottom line? You can’t use the freedom to exercise religion as a get-out-of-jail-free.
NOT to mention that it has yet to be proved that separate seating on buses is an established tenet of Judaism.
That aside, I was once on a bus where the men sat on one side, and the women on the other. What would be the halachic implications of such an arrangement?October 25, 2011 12:30 am at 12:30 am #821696
OneOfMany: A franchise issued by government agency/public entity cannot provision terms that violate the First Amendment (or any part of the Constitution for that matter — which takes precedence over Federal, State and local laws and regulations), whereas a private entity can in many instances.
And legally you need not demonstrate that something is an “established tenet of Judaism”. You need only demonstrate you in good faith believe your religion asks that of you. And a private bus company is legally entitled to have separate seating.October 25, 2011 1:29 am at 1:29 am #821697
Dr. Seuss: Even if we take your assumptions as true, these are still the facts: There are laws against segregation (by race, sex, etc.) of public accommodations. By entering in a franchise agreement with a public transportation service, you are agreeing to these abide by these laws. If you believe these laws violate your constitutional rights, then you can challenge them. To break the law without applying to the appropriate legal channels, citing the Constitution as your justification, is not a feasible legal practice.
The Constitution and its amendments are not quite as unilateral as you believe them to be. It is the job of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution and determine constitutionality. If things worked as you are arguing, then what exactly is their function? By your logic, gay people would have no problem marrying, as per the interpretation of several different amendments. What right would any state have to abridge theirs? That’s why we have the court system and legal action – to regulate unrestrained behaviors under the protection of the Constitution.
A conflict between established state/franchise law and the tenets of the Constitution would definitely warrant investigation. Perhaps the law would be determined in our favor. Who knows? My point is not to say that separate seating is wrong, but to emphasize the need for the issue to be addressed in the proper manner. If there are laws and we break them, then the Constitution cannot be valid. Plus, isn’t the current method causing a chillul Hashem? Why not try to avoid that?
My comment on this practice being an established tenet of Judaism did not relate to legal semantics. I was just wondering whether or not the issue warranted such extreme action on our end. As pointed I mentioned before, some buses are segregated left-right as opposed to front-back. This practice is ostensibly not as discriminatory as the current one is, so if the government is applied to appropriately, there is very little reason for this not to be allowed.
Oh, and I would be very interested in hearing some cases where private entities were allowed to violate a(n) individual/group’s constitutional rights. As well as the provenance and basis of this practice. That would surely make for an interesting legal precedent…October 25, 2011 1:42 am at 1:42 am #821698
I believe that you are wrong on this. Governments in the US can and does regulate religious matters, especially when it interferes with the public good. Laws preventing ritual murder/sacrifice, polygamy, ritual peyote smoking, etc. are all valid and have been upheld by the courts. In Reynolds vs. the United States, the SCOTUS ruled:
“Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order”
In other words, the freedom to exercise your religion is NOT absolute. If you find an Amaleki tomorrow and kill him, you cannot then turn around and claim that New York’s laws against murder are unconstitutional because they interfere with the free exercise of your religion.
That being said, a public agency can certainly put a clause in a contract requiring the other party to obey all local laws. Based on your logic, a restaurant leasing space from the MTA can claim exemption from health laws based on freedom of religion and pass disease around to everyone. Obviously, that’s not the case.
The WolfOctober 25, 2011 1:44 am at 1:44 am #821699
OneOfMany and Wolf: Again, the law allows private bus operators to segregate their buses. So to compare it to religious child sacrifice is absurd. The only issue here is the franchise agreement. And considering the law allows segregation by private entities, a franchise by a government entity cannot abrogate a parties religious freedom that is protected by law — and segregation is so protected by law. (See, for example, Monsey Bus.) Additionally, the bus company is not getting paid by the government to run this bus. The franchise is simply an allowance to operate the bus route on the public roads.October 25, 2011 1:51 am at 1:51 am #821700
And this bus is not operated privately. Your point?
And please quote the law ALLOWING this.October 25, 2011 1:58 am at 1:58 am #821701
I don’t see the point in arguing over the law, when probably none of you know what the law is.
You could argue about what you think the law should be, if you were writing the constitution. Or you could argue about what we should do on the tzad the law is that it is illegal.October 25, 2011 2:00 am at 2:00 am #821702
OneOfMany: This bus is operated by a private carrier.October 25, 2011 2:03 am at 2:03 am #821703
I think legally its not private, but rather semi-private.
The difference is things like who to pick up, I dont think they have the right to refuse to pick up people (ie women dressed un-tzniut), but they do have the right to do things like not work on Shabbos or not accept a metro-cardOctober 25, 2011 2:06 am at 2:06 am #821704
In addition, a private business cannot discriminate based on gender if that business is a public accommodation. So, for example, if you own a restaurant, you can’t hang a sign in the window saying “[insert ethnic/religious/gender group here] not welcome.” Nor can they tell members of a specific group that they have to sit in certain seats.
The WolfOctober 25, 2011 2:08 am at 2:08 am #821705
popa_bar_abba: The Constitution was written with the provision that it is to be interpreted by the courts as the situation warrants. So we wouldn’t really have any more power if we were in the framers’ position.October 25, 2011 2:10 am at 2:10 am #821706
Dr. Seuss: That is in a franchise agreement with a public one.October 25, 2011 2:13 am at 2:13 am #821707
The Constitution was written with the provision that it is to be interpreted by the courts as the situation warrants.
Not really. The courts decided that on their own. That is the chiddush of Marbury v. Madison.
So we wouldn’t really have any more power if we were in the framers’ position.
Of course we would. Nobody ever debated whether the president has to be 35 years old. You can put things in clearly.October 25, 2011 2:14 am at 2:14 am #821708
There is no more discrimination than separate restrooms. I haven’t heard any demands for unisex restrooms. Both genders have a right to board the bus and sit on the bus.October 25, 2011 2:16 am at 2:16 am #821709
Good point, Wolf!
How can we Jews argue against these laws? They are what protect US from discrimination as well!October 25, 2011 2:23 am at 2:23 am #821710
Both genders have a right to board the bus and sit on the bus.
True. But saying that people in Group X have to sit in those seats and people in Group Y have to sit in those other seats is considered segregation, and is illegal (if the groups are based on protected classes, of which gender is one). Separate menus is another area where discrimination can occur — you can’t have a a “whites only” menu and a “blacks only” menu. In other words, admission to the facility isn’t the only point where illegal discrimination can occur.
It’s no different than a restaurant saying that “[insert group here]” has to eat at the shaky tables with the wobbly legs and with the chairs that are falling apart, while [other group] can eat at the new, solid tables and comfortable chairs.”
The WolfOctober 25, 2011 2:30 am at 2:30 am #821711
Wolf: The seats are equal. There is no quality difference between them. Why is it legally any different than a gender segregated restroom?October 25, 2011 2:31 am at 2:31 am #821712
Marbury v. Madison established the ability to rule on the constitutionality of laws. This is one element of interpreting the Constitution. If the Constitution itself did not provide for elasticity, legal chiddushim like Marbury v. Madison would de facto not be allowed.
And do you think no one would debate someone putting their opinion on such a messy matter as clear-cut constitutional law?October 25, 2011 2:34 am at 2:34 am #821713metrodriverMember
Dr. Seuss; The carrier (Bus Co.) may be private. But the route that they are driving along picking up passengers and collecting revenue is public, that is represented by City Government. And, therefore, public accommodation rules apply. And it is part of an agreement that they signed.October 25, 2011 2:37 am at 2:37 am #821714
The seats are equal. There is no quality difference between them.
Ah, but there are two points to address here:
1. The seats in the back can be viewed as inferior on the basis of their location alone.
2. Even if they are truly equal, “separate but equal” was ruled illegal. Separate but equal is inherently unequal.
Why is it legally any different than a gender segregated restroom?
That’s a good question, and I’ll admit that I’m not certain of the answer. However, I will take a guess and state that there is a perception that the maintenance of separate bathrooms is perceived as a public good. Gender-segregated seating on a public accommodation is not viewed that way.
Nonetheless, if you feel that strongly about it, bring the suit in court to make separate bathrooms illegal.
The WolfOctober 25, 2011 2:40 am at 2:40 am #821715
Dr Seuss: Because practice in the American South until the 1960s proved that being forced to sit in the back of the bus was considered derogatory and discriminatory. The easiest solution would be to put the women in front and have a curtain halfway through. Add a rear entrance for men if you want to look super-frum.October 25, 2011 2:50 am at 2:50 am #821716
Sam2: That would make zero legal difference than the reverse.
Wolf: I don’t agree that the location is inferior. And I don’t believe the law does either.
And there are other private buses that operate segregated lines as well without any legal problems.October 25, 2011 2:54 am at 2:54 am #821717
oneofmany: Why are we arguing about this?October 25, 2011 2:56 am at 2:56 am #821718
Dr. Seuss: It might make zero legal difference, but people would be much less likely to complain about men sitting in the back.
How about this? You go up to an African American and ask him to sit at the back of the bus but tell him you’re not racist because you honestly don’t see the back as being inferior. See what happens.October 25, 2011 2:59 am at 2:59 am #821719
Dunno. But at least it’s edifying. 🙂October 25, 2011 3:06 am at 3:06 am #821720
Wolf: I don’t agree that the location is inferior. And I don’t believe the law does either.
If someone wants to sit in the front, then they obviously consider it inferior. Like with the restaurant, you may not consider your “black menu” inferior, but what you want is not what is relevant.
And, in any event, even if they truly are equal, separate but equal is illegal.
And there are other private buses that operate segregated lines as well without any legal problems.
1. They are not public accommodations (i.e. ridership is limited to a certain group, like a bus that picks up people to take them to a minyan, for example).
2. They are, in fact, illegal and no one has complained about them yet.
The WolfOctober 25, 2011 3:10 am at 3:10 am #821721mosheemes2Member
Wolf (and anyone else who cares),
By gender discrimination in public accommodations the law limits its application to exclude situations where such restrictions are reasonable (e.g. bathrooms, changing rooms, gyms). The bus line could argue that busses are such a place. They’d be laughed out of any court that they tried that in.October 25, 2011 3:37 am at 3:37 am #821722Yoin from BPMember
In Europe, the railroad cars of the very long International trains are segregated according to final destination. Someone entering in Milan and going to Amsterdam cannot decide to sit in the wagon going to Paris.
Similarly, a gentleman in Costco cannot insist on using the Ladies Only facilities. Segregation?
US Customs also seperates visitors and American citizens upon entry to the US. Isn’t that segregation?
Shoprite has a ’15 item or less’ check-out counter. Is that called segregation?
And the list goes on.
A similar argument can perhaps be made in the Williamsburgh Bus case. Seperation between men and women is optional, expected and adhered to.October 25, 2011 3:51 am at 3:51 am #821723bezalelParticipant
The article I read is somewhat confusing, stating that if they were truely a private entity they would be allowed to be segregated. But is it even legal to operate a bus route without a franchise? (Like operating a taxi without a medallion.)October 25, 2011 4:20 am at 4:20 am #821724HealthParticipant
The fact is – the Gov. is right, but the fact that they never know what’s flying created the situation the way it is now. Keven Sheovar V’shona Nassis Lo K’heter. So people like Dr. Seuss are convinced that this can only be discrimination and antisemitisim. And the biggest Chutzpa is that they will fight their Chumra like it’s one of the Aseres Hadibros. This puts out a bad impression of Yiddiskeit because now the world thinks these Chumras are just as important as the Mitzvos themselves. To quote the Mayor -“If you want separate seating -start a totally private route”. I couldn’t agree more. The Courts nowadays won’t even uphold legitimate complaints of discrimination like Shabbos observance for employees, (I know from personal experience), because they become disgusted with Judaism when stories like these hit the news.October 25, 2011 6:30 am at 6:30 am #821725HaLeiViParticipant
Metro, is this any different than the Monsey bus? To me it sounds like a trick. You are calling it a franchise but that only means the route you are taking.
The mayor said that if you want you can make a private bus service and then you can do what you want. Was he just making noise or is there such an option?
I do think that it is a very good point to mention, that it is not a company inforced rule. The passengers sit separately on their own. Even if one passenger tells another to change a seat that has nothing to do with the company.October 25, 2011 1:06 pm at 1:06 pm #821726
that it is not a company inforced rule.
There is a sign on the Bus stating this is the rule. The Sign is in the place where the advertisements goOctober 25, 2011 2:03 pm at 2:03 pm #821727mosheemes2Member
There are two differences between this and the Monsey bus, I think (although I’ll admit I’m not positive about either).
First, in order to pick people up at stops on the street (as opposed to travel from pickup at point a to drop off at point b) the company needs the franchise from the city to allow them to what is in effect compete with the MTA. They could reorganize as a private bus company, but I think would be unable to make stops along the route if they did.
Second, the Monsey bus is an interstate route and is licensed by the USDOT. Not sure if that matters in terms of what is considered discrimination, but it does affect what would or would not be considered a public vs. private route.October 25, 2011 2:07 pm at 2:07 pm #821728HaLeiViParticipant
Oh well.October 25, 2011 2:59 pm at 2:59 pm #821729
For those who favor it I have a question
In the USA Back of the Bus has a very bad connotation , Since its a Chumra and not a Halacha according to most (if not all) Ive never heard of a Rav who forbided riding the regular bus or Subway (Even Satmar ride the Subway) Its probably a Chilul Hashem
How can this be permittedOctober 25, 2011 3:19 pm at 3:19 pm #821730
There is a T’shuvah in both the Tzitz Eliezer (seen it inside) and Igros Moshe (never seen it but heard it from a reliable source) that it’s Muttar to sit next to a woman on a bus. I agree with Zahavasdad’s question. How is this not a Chilul Hashem?October 25, 2011 3:51 pm at 3:51 pm #821731bezalelParticipant
the Monsey bus is an interstate route
It’s not that simple, AFAIK they don’t make stops in New Jersey. Their Baltimore route is operated by their charter division (although I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a seperate “tour organizer” involved).
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