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First Amendment

Upset About Bankruptcy Case, Amish Seek Unsuccessfully to Settle $33M Matter Outside Court

Posted Mar 21, 2011 5:00 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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When Monroe Beachy filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, members of the Amish community weren't happy.

Not so much because they might have been fleeced by the alleged Ponzi schemer with whom they had invested as a trusted member of their religious group but because they were being forced into court in the secular world, reports the Washington Post.

Although investors sought the dismissal of the bankruptcy case, so that the Northern District of Ohio matter could be settled in the Amish community in the traditional way, a federal bankruptcy judge said Friday that this isn't possible.

Delegating authority over the case to a religious group would be unconstitutional, said Judge Russ Kendig in his written opinion. "Any such delegation is forbidden by the Establishment Clause.”

Beachy, who has about $33 million in debt and $18 million in assets, also owes money to some individuals outside the Amish community, the article says.

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