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

United States Supreme Court Tees Up Sequel to “Hobby Lobby” Decision

As we previously reported, in June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that closely-held corporations with religious owners could “opt out” from the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA” or “Act”)...more

Bike Lanes, Jedi, Medicine Men, Cowboys and More: This Week’s RLUIPA Round-Up

What is Religious Exercise? remains a prevalent question in religious land use news this week.  Below, find our semi-regular summary of news items involving local government, religion, and land use....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

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

Lessons Employers Can Learn from Kentucky Clerk’s Same-Sex Marriage License Dispute

Almost every day the news carries an additional story about Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who has defied the Supreme Court by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Kim Davis story may be...more

“Opt Out” Accommodation Under Affordable Care Act Validated After Challenge from Religious Objectors

In what continues to be a controversial and developing area of employment law, a federal appellate court recently validated the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) “opt out” provision, finding that requiring nonprofit employers to...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

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

Same-Sex Marriage and Tennessee Businesses

In its first opportunity to apply Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court case holding same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, the Tennessee Court of Appeals recently held the state must recognize same-sex...more

Religious Freedom and the Affordable Care Act

The fascinating interplay that weaves between the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to march...more

Local Court Ruling Takes the Hands off of Hands On: Tensions between Fairness Ordinances and Religious Freedom Restoration Acts

Businesses should keep a close eye on a case that continues to develop in Lexington, Kentucky, as it highlights the current tensions between emerging, evolving antidiscrimination paradigms and rights of free expression and...more

City of Marysville, Washington Defeats RLUIPA, RFRA, and Fair Housing Claims

In Holy Ghost Revival Ministries v. City of Marysville (W.D. Washington), the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington considered claims of religious discrimination brought by Holy Ghost Revival Ministries...more

Lesser Known Exemptions: The "Ministerial" Exception to the FLSA

Last week, in my post about the impact of the various iterations of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) on wage and hour law, we discussed the general rule that the FLSA does not contain blanket exceptions or...more

Indiana’s RFRA Battle Highlights Sexual Orientation Discrimination

The current controversy in Indiana surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) highlights the issue of whether an employer may discriminate against an individual due to their sexual orientation. The purpose of...more

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and Wage and Hour Law

Unless you are living under a rock, you are probably aware of the uproar in Indiana about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that the state passed, triggering an incredible backlash inside and outside the state and a rush...more

Religious Institution - January 2015

Experience over the last couple decades teaches that religious institutions face as much or perhaps more liability than secular organizations and, therefore, need to take risk management seriously. From operating their own...more

Supreme Court Grants Injunction to Religious University Barring Strict Enforcement of Accommodation Scheme for ACA Contraception...

The United States Supreme Court granted Wheaton College, a religious non-profit college in Illinois, an injunction permitting the college to opt into the ACA contraception mandate’s accommodation scheme available to certain...more

For-Profit Companies Find Religion – What’s a Transactional Lawyer to Do?

Last month, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that closely held for-profit corporations can have “free exercise rights” as “persons” under The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (“RFRA”),...more

Supreme Court Rules Closely Held Businesses Shielded from Contraception Mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday created a new exemption to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that requires for-profit companies to offer birth control health insurance coverage to their employees. In a 5-4 vote, the...more

Religious Institutions Update - April 2014

Does a closely held for-profit corporation have a constitutionally or statutorily protected right to exercise religion under the Free Exercise Clause or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA)? The U.S. Supreme...more

Religious Freedom, Contraceptive Services, and The ACA: The Dilemma of the Self-Certification Provision

On February 21, 2014, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-to-1 decision, denied a preliminary injunction enjoining the federal government from enforcing the self-certification provisions of the Affordable Care Act...more

ERISA Fiduciary Duties and the Tension Between the Affordable Care Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA") has significantly changed the healthcare industry in the United States. Among the many changes is the new requirement that healthcare providers must provide all "Food...more

Would Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Have A Stronger Case As A Flexible Purpose Corporation?

Steve Hazen alerted me to the fact that California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has filed an amicus brief in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., U.S. Supreme Court Docket No. 13-354. The question presented in that...more

U.S. Supreme Court Takes Up Two Cases On the Affordable Care Act’s Contraceptive Mandate

On November 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court announced it would hear two cases that test the provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as the contraceptive mandate, which requires employer-provided group...more

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