Religious Freedom Restoration Act

News & Analysis as of

Complicit in Sin: the Burden of the Opt-Out Form

Does filling out a form burden religious beliefs? We’re about to find out. On November 6, the Supreme Court agreed to review a group of seven cases (led by No. 14-1418, Zubik v. Burwell) brought by religious non-profit...more

Supreme Court Update: Mullenix V. Luna (14-1143) And Order List

Was it Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr or Jon Bon Jovi who remarked, "The more things change, the more they stay the same"? (They both did!) Over the last few terms, we've encountered a few steady themes in the Supreme Court's...more

Supreme Court to Review Birth Control Mandates Under Affordable Care Act Once More

For the third time in four years, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to a portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama’s signature health reform law passed in 2010. On November 6, 2015, the Supreme...more

The Latest in the EU’s Post-Safe Harbor Era

In light of the EU’s destruction of the Safe Harbor that we’ve previously discussed in this blog, we take the opportunity to update with the latest from EU Commissioner, Vera Jourová, who, in an address to the EU Parliament’s...more


Below are news items from the past week involving local government, religion, and land use that may be of interest to our readers. - The New York Times reports that the Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma Capitol...more

May an Employer Object to the Affordable Care Act’s Contraceptive Mandate Based Solely on Moral Grounds? A federal court has ruled...

Hobby Lobby took on the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that it must provide female employees certain contraceptives on religious grounds and won. March for Life, a pro-life organization, is trying to reach the same result but...more

Religious Institutions: September 2015

Respondeat superior (literally, "let the master answer" in Latin) is a doctrine that applies when an employer or principal has the ability and authority to direct and control the pertinent acts of the employee. Put otherwise,...more

Indiana Employment Law Update: 5 Changes to Laws You Should Know

A number of significant changes to Indiana employment law took effect on July 1, 2015. These changes affected employer’s obligations in areas such as hiring, wages, discrimination, and termination. If employers have not...more

Illinois Federal Court Dismisses Some, But Not All, RLUIPA Claims

A federal court in Illinois, in Church of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ v. City of Markham, Illinois (N.D. Ill. 2015), dismissed some of the Church’s religious land use claims while allowing others to proceed. The case is...more

Colorado Rules Baker Cannot Refuse Service to Same-Sex Couples for Religious Reasons

In a post last week, I discussed how some believe Tennessee’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) could allow Tennessee businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples despite a recent ruling that...more

Houston Housing Authority Sued Under Texas RFRA for Taking Church Properties

Two Houston churches are using the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“TRFRA”) to challenge the Houston Housing Authority’s actions to acquire their properties by eminent domain as part of an urban renewal project. The...more

Second Circuit holds that the Affordable Care Act does not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

On August 7, 2015, in Catholic Health Care System v. Burwell, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) is not violated by certain regulations promulgated under the...more

Religious Institutions: August 2015

The decision by the United States Supreme Court on same-sex marriage has been greeted with praise and disdain by different corners of the country. The faith-based community has been especially outspoken. This is not...more

New Developments in Protections for LGBT Workers

It’s been a busy few weeks for developments in the area of LGBT rights since the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell , 576 U.S. ___ (2015)....more

Religious Institutions Update: May 2015

Religious institutions commonly keep ministry supporters and members abreast of developments through newsletters, correspondence and other communications. Sometimes, the developments reported are embarrassing to those...more

Orthodox Synagogue Sues Dallas, Texas

The City of Dallas, Texas is in a familiar position. It’s being sued for religious discrimination. Last year, the City Council agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by two churches ministering to the homeless...more

SC Public Policy Update - April 2015 #2

HOUSE - The House of Representatives spent the last two weeks working in committees and trying to get bills passed out of the House prior to the May 1st cross-over deadline. For a bill to be considered during this...more

St. Louis Homeless Shelter Files RLUIPA Claim and Requests Preliminary Injunction to Continue Operations

Plaintiff, New Life Evangelistic Center, Inc., (“New Life”), an interdenominational Christian Church formed in 1972 by Reverend Larry Rice, recently sued the City of St. Louis, Missouri (the “City”) in the Eastern District of...more

Religious Institutions Update: March 2015

Several interrelated legal developments make it more important than ever for religious institutions intending to qualify for exemptions to generally applicable laws to do the hard work before litigation or administrative...more

Federal Court Enters Injunctive Order Against Bayview, Texas in RLUIPA Suit Filed by Church

We previously reported on the case Cornerstone Church by the Bay v. Town of Bayview, Texas, in which the Church and the Laguna Madre Christian Academy are suing the Town (population approx. 400) under the Religious Land Use &...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds Contraceptive Coverage Mandate

Last week, a unanimous three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit upheld the religious accommodation to the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) contraceptive coverage mandate (Priests for Life v. HHS, D.C. Cir. No. 13-5368, Nov. 14,...more

The Contraception Coverage Controversy Continues…

As we have been discussing, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requires all health plans to cover preventive health services for women, including all Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”)-approved contraceptives, at no cost (i.e....more

Religious Institutions: October 2014

Timely Topics - Church splits and property disputes are not new, but they have certainly grown in number in recent years. In the seminal case on church property disputes, Watson v. Jones, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 679, 20 L....more

Hobby Lobby and the Employer-Sponsored Health Plan

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (134 S. Ct. 2751, June 30, 2014), the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held for-profit corporations may refuse for religious reasons to cover contraceptives otherwise required to be...more

Hobby Lobby Redux

The regulations set forth two possible approaches to defining a “qualifying closely held for-profit entity” In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751 (2014) the Supreme Court held that the requirement to...more

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