Religious Freedom Restoration Act

News & Analysis as of

Ninth Circuit Rejects Hawaii Cannabis Ministry’s RFRA Challenge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently upheld the convictions of two ministers of the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry who admitted using and distributing large quantities of cannabis in accordance with their...more

Supreme Court Returns Affordable Care Act Contraceptive-Coverage Cases to Lower Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously remanded a consolidated appeal of seven cases addressing the contraceptive-coverage “accommodation” for religious organizations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the Courts of...more

Supreme Court Decides Not to Decide on Latest Challenge to ACA Contraceptive Coverage

The Supreme Court in a unanimous opinion remanded Zubick v. Burwell — and the six cases consolidated with Zubick — back to the Courts of Appeals to rule on the contraceptive opt-out notice provisions. The Court directed the...more

Surprising Result in Supreme Court Contraceptive Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an unusual decision in the latest legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to reach the high court. In Zubik v. Burwell, the Court consolidated appeals filed by religious nonprofit...more

The Supreme Court - May 2016 #2

The Supreme Court of the United States issued decisions in six cases today: Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, No. 13-1339: The Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (“FCRA”) imposes a number of requirements regarding the creation and...more

High Court Sidesteps Contraceptive Coverage Decision – For Now

The Supreme Court declined to rule on whether religiously affiliated nonprofits can be required to affirmatively “opt out” of providing contraceptive coverage to their employees, which would have triggered separate...more

Supreme Court Decides Zubik v. Burwell and consolidated cases

Zubik v. Burwell and several consolidated cases challenged a federal regulation requiring employers to cover certain contraceptives as part of their health plans unless they submit a form either to their insurer or to the...more

Why Can’t We Be Friends? The Supreme Court Discovers an Unexpected Meeting of the Minds in Zubik v. Burwell

Regardless of one’s preferred metaphor, the Supreme Court of the United States is adept at ducking, punting, and otherwise avoiding messy and socially divisive interpretive issues. Every once in a while, the parties even help...more

Claims to Accommodate Flying Spaghetti Monster-ism Hit the Wall in Nebraska Court

On April 12, 2016, a district court in Nebraska rejected the religious accommodation claims advanced by a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.1 In denying the religious accommodation claims, the court was...more

Recovery House’s RLUIPA Challenge Fails

The District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has rejected RLUIPA and other claims asserted by a religious group in Affordable Recovery Housing v. City of Blue Island (N.D. Ill. 2016). The case stems from...more

GA “Free” Exercise

On Wednesday, the Georgia legislature passed the “Free Exercise Protection Act” (HB 757), which combines aspects of a proposed Pastor Protection Act and Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Many Atlanta-based companies and...more

Georgia Weekly Legislative Update - March 2016 #2

In a surprise vote last week, the Georgia legislature rushed through the approval of a contentious religious liberty proposal intended to grant safe legal harbor to opponents of marriage equality....more

Religious Institutions Update: March 2016

Timely Topics - The death of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia will have an uncertain effect on religious institutions. Justice Scalia delivered the majority opinion in Employment Div. v. Smith, 494 U.S...more

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

RLUIPA Round-Up

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

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