News & Analysis as of

Tear Down This Wall! Botched Demolition and Apartment Conditions Lead to RLUIPA Dispute

On September 24, Rock Church of Easton (Rock Church) filed an “Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and /or Preliminary Injunction” against the City of Easton, Pennsylvania (the City or Easton) and its Bureau of...more


Below are news items from the past week involving local government, religion, and land use that have caught our attention. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York has issued a Memorandum and...more

Hope Rising Church Hoping for a Preliminary Injunction

In June 2014, Plaintiff Hope Rising Community Church sought to establish a place of worship in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. According to its complaint, Pastor Harry Hoff met with Penn Hill’s planning and code enforcement...more

Mosque’s RLUIPA Claims Move Forward

Almost a year ago, we reported on The Bensalem Masjid, Inc.’s lawsuit against Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania following the Township’s denial of Masjid’s use variance application to build a 16,900-square foot mosque,...more

No TRO: Here’s Why

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, approximately two weeks after it denied Livingston Christian Schools’ (“LCS” or “School”) request for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”), has issued a written...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

Arkansas Senate Opens the Door; Baphomet Walks In

The Arkansas Senate, in passing Bill no. 939 (now Act 1231), authorized the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol to purportedly “help the people of the United States and of...more

Jesus is Just Alright, Holds the Ninth Circuit

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed a lower court’s decision ruling that a twelve foot statute of Jesus near Montana’s Big Mountain does not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The statue, known as “Big Mountain...more

Federal Court Denies Religious School’s Request for Temporary Restraining Order

A few weeks ago, we reported on a new RLUIPA suit arising in Genoa Charter Township, Michigan, where Livingston Christian Schools is suing the Township over the denial of a special land use permit to operate a religious...more

RLUIPA Round-up

Unfortunately it’s time to say goodbye to the last true week of summer. But RLUIPA Defense is happy to say hello to fall with another edition of the Round-Up! - According to the San Francisco Chronicle, despite an...more

East End Eruv Association one step closer to achieving its goal

Last month, we reported on the New York State Supreme Court decision that held the Town of Southampton, New York erroneously applied its sign ordinance to East End Eruv Association’s (“EEEA”) proposed eruv, which EEEA seeks...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


We’ve been monitoring news items involving local government, religion, and land use that may be of interest to our readers. Below is what has caught our attention. Livingston Daily reports that Genoa Charter Township...more

Seventh Circuit Applies Reed v. Gilbert to Strike Down Panhandling Ordinance

Local governments may now have more to fear following the Supreme Court’s decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert. While the Reed decision may cause many local governments to question the constitutionality of their sign...more

New RLUIPA Suit: Religious School Sues Genoa Charter Township, Michigan

As the end of summer nears, most schools are finalizing courses and preparing for the return of students. Livingston Christian Schools has much more to deal with – it is suing Genoa Charter Township, Michigan, in federal...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

RLUIPA Showdown in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey

Since December 2014, the Woodcliff Lake Zoning Board of Adjustment has been considering Valley Chabad’s application for variances to construct a three and a half story, 18,550 square foot religious facility on 1.27 acres in a...more

Mother & Daughter’s Challenge to Ten Commandments Monument Dismissed for Lack of Standing

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania dismissed an Establishment Clause challenge to a Ten Commandments monument located on the lawn outside a local high school, in Freedom From Religion Foundation...more

Amicus Brief Filed at Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court by Attorney Yale Yechiel N. Robinson

Attorney Yale Yechiel N. Robinson filed an amicus brief with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) on July 22, 2015. The case, Trapp v. Commissioner of Corrections (docket number SJC-11863), concerns prisoner...more


After a brief summer hiatus, RLUIPA Defense is back with another edition of the Round-Up.  What better way to kick things off than with news about the Satanic Temple of Detroit, which recently unveiled “The Satanic Temple...more

Phoenix, Arizona Wins Religious Land Use Suit

A Phoenix federal court recently issued a decision that may be of interest to local governments for two reasons. First, the case, Salman v. City of Phoenix (D. AZ 2015), is notable for its finding that RLUIPA claims cannot...more

East End Eruv Association posts win in state court; fight in E.D.N.Y. continues

For the past 5-plus years, East End Eruv Association (“EEEA”) has been involved in federal litigation seeking approval to construct an eruv in accordance with its religious beliefs (East End Eruv Association v. Westhampton...more

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Government in Confederate Flag Controversy

As promised in our earlier post, Reed v. Gilbert: Impact to municipalities across the nation, this post provides a summary of Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, a case that, coupled with Reed, has led...more


Religion Clause Blog reports that Indiana’s First Church of Cannabis is using the state’s recently enacted religious freedom law to protect its founder and two members from prosecution for possession of marijuana. The Church...more

RLUIPA Round Up – Independence Day Special Edition!

Independence Day—no better time to reflect on the numerous (enumerated and unenumerated) rights protected by our United States Constitution. Thanks to Obergefell v. Hodges, those rights are now more clearly focused. However,...more

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