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Religion Cases

  • Holt v. Hobbs (S. Ct.) - Amicus
    • The lower courts improperly applied the burden of proof in deference to prison officials
    • The record does not support the prison's assertions that Holt's half-inch beard would create an insurmountable administrative burden, problems with identification should he escape, and a place to hide contraband
    • The prison was required, under their burden of proof, to show unique circumstances that would prevent them from accommodating a half-inch beard where most other state prisons and all federal prisons would do so

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Amicus 05/29/14
  • United States v. Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections (11th Cir.) - Appellee
    • The preliminary injunction the district court issued in its December 6 Order automatically expired by statute 90 days thereafter, or on March 6, 2014
    • The injunction's expiration precludes this Court from granting specific relief through a decree of a conclusive character
    • The Court should deny appellants' motion for partial stay of the district court's order, requesting the Court delay the July 1, 2014, deadline the district court set for implementing the RDP statewide and allow a quarterly phase-in of the RDP
    • The district court's order granting the United States' motion for a preliminary injunction should be affirmed
    • The United States had moved for a preliminary injunction seeking an order requiring the appellants to provide kosher meals to all prisoners with a sincere religious belief for keeping kosher and enjoining the implementation of certain aspects of the new religious diet program that the United States asserted violated RLUIPA

     
    Document Date 
    Supplemental Letter Brief 10/01/14
    Court of Appeals Order 06/20/14
    Response in Opposition to a Motion for Partial Stay 06/17/14
    Brief as Appellee 05/21/14
  • Native American Council of Tribes, et al. v. Weber, et al. (8th Cir.) - Amicus
    • Prison officials improperly relied on their own interpretation of plaintiffs' religious tenets in banning tobacco and that the district court appropriately called on them to show they considered less restrictive alternatives before they imposed the tobacco ban
    • The district court correctly relied on other prisons' policies permitting ritual tobacco when it concluded that a total tobacco ban was not the least restrictive means available for controlling contraband and ensuring prison security

     
    Document Date 
    Court of Appeals Decision, 750 F.3d 742 04/25/14
    Brief as Amicus 06/26/13
  • Lubavitch v. Litchfield (2d Cir.) - Amicus
    • The district court wrongly applied RLUIPA's substantial burden provision in assessing the synagogue's claims when it concluded that the historic preservation committee's system of individualized assessments was a neutral rule of general applicability
    • The district court misconstrued RLUIPA's nondiscrimination provision when it required the synagogue to identify another religious institution that was identically situated but treated more favorably, rather than inquiring more broadly as to whether there was any evidence of discrimination

     
    Document Date 
    Court of Appeals Decision, 768 F.3d 183 09/19/14
    Brief as Amicus 11/14/12
  • Knight v. Thompson (11th Cir.) - Amicus
    • Alabama failed to meet its burden under RLUIPA of demonstrating that its challenged practice is the least restrictive means of meeting its compelling interests

     
    Document Date 
    Court of Appeals Decision, 723 F.3d 1275 07/26/13
    Brief as Amicus 08/27/12
  • Islamic Center of North Fulton v. City of Alpharetta (11th Cir.) - Amicus
    • The district court applied an overly restrictive standard to the substantial burden claim and that, under the correct standard, the Center has produced evidence that raises at least a triable issue of fact as to whether the City's denial of its application amounted to a substantial burden on religious exercise
    • The Supreme Court's decision in Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation, 429 U.S. 252 (1977), supplies the correct framework for evaluating an RLUIPA discrimination claim
    • The district court erred when requiring the Center to point to a comparator that is "prima facie identical in all relevant respects"

     
    Document Date 
    Court of Appeals Order 12/30/13
    Brief as Amicus 06/12/12
  • Bethel World Outreach Ministries v. Montgomery County Council (4th Cir.) - Amicus
    • The district court misapplied RLUIPA's "substantial burden" standard in the land use context
    • Bethel raised a triable issue of material fact as to whether the County's regulation, which completely prohibits Bethel from building a church on its land, constituted a substantial burden on Bethel's religious exercise

     
    Document Date 
    Court of Appeals Decision , 706 F.3d 548 01/31/13
    Brief as Amicus 04/12/12
  • Opulent Life Church v. City of Holly Springs (5th Cir.) - Amicus
    • The city's zoning ordinance, which requires that places of worship obtain approval of the Mayor, the Board of Aldermen, and 60% of neighboring landowners, violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc
    • The court erred in finding that the church could not show any harm or substantial threat of harm where it had not yet exceeded the capacity of its current building and where the lack of space hindered the congregation's growth

     
    Document Date 
    Court of Appeals Decision , 697 F.3d 279 09/27/12
    Brief as Amicus 03/14/12
  • Garner v. Kennedy (5th Cir.) - Amicus
    • TDCJ's ban on beards violates Section 3 of RLUIPA because it is not the least restrictive means of advancing the TDCJ's compelling interests in effective and economical prison security

     
    Document Date 
    Court of Appeals Decision , 713 F.3d 237 04/02/13
    Brief as Amicus 12/27/11
  • Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC (S. Ct.) – Respondent
    • None of the constitutional provisions from which a ministerial exception may derive - the Free Exercise Clause, the Establishment Clause and the freedom of association - precludes the application of the anti-retaliation provisions of the ADA in this case

     
    Document Date 
    Supreme Court Decision, 132 S. Ct. 694 01/11/12
    Brief for the Federal Respondent 08/02/11
  • Thunderhorse v. Pierce (S. Ct.) – Amicus
    • The Fifth Circuit erred by failing to require that TDCJ explain why the less restrictive practices advocated by Thunderhorse were not feasible, or why the TDCJ’s inconsistent application of the grooming policy did not indicate that less restrictive means were possible
    • Because the courts of appeals, including the Fifth Circuit, have generally correctly applied RLUIPA’s standards, this case does not warrant plenary review, and the Court should therefore either deny the petition or, in the alternative, grant the petition and summarily reverse the Fifth Circuit

     
    Document Date 
    Certiorari denied, 131 S. Ct. 896 01/10/11
    Brief as amicus in response to Court’s invitation 12/01/10
  • Khatib v. County of Orange (9th Cir.) -- Amicus
    • Orange County courthouse holding facility falls within the ordinary, common meaning of the terms “jail” and “pretrial detention facility” and is thus an “institution” for purposes of CRIPA and RLUIPA

     
    Document Date 
    Court of Appeals Decision [PDF], reported at 639 F.3d 898 03/15/11
    Brief as Amicus [PDF] 10/04/10
  • Sossamon v. Texas (S. Ct.) -- Amicus
    • The Court should hold the petition on the issue of damages against state officials in their official capacity pending the Court’s decision in Cardinal v. Metrish, No. 09-109, because that case provides a better vehicle for resolving the issue
    • The Court should deny the petition on the issue of damages against state officials in their individual capacities because, while the decisions below were incorrect, there is no split in the Circuits on this issue
    • RLUIPA itself specifies that “appropriate relief” may be obtained against any government that violates its terms
    • RLUIPA is a statute that “prohibits discrimination,” such that accepting federal funds waives a State’s immunity from suits to enforce it pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 2000d-7

     
    Document Date 
    Supreme Court Decision [PDF], 131 S. Ct. 1651 04/20/11
    Brief as Amicus 08/10/10
    Certiorari granted, 130 S. Ct. 3319 05/24/10
    Brief as amicus in response to Court’s invitation 03/18/10
  • Cardinal v. Metrish (S. Ct.) - Amicus
    • Granting certiorari was warranted because the Sixth Circuit incorrectly concluded that a State that accepts federal funds does not waive its Eleventh Amendment immunity to suits for money damages under RLUIPA
    • 42 U.S.C. 2000d-7 clearly conditions a State’s receipt of federal funds on its waiver of Eleventh Amendment immunity to damages suits to enforce federal anti-discrimination statutes, like RLUIPA
    • Under the Court’s Spending Clause decisions, the plain language of RLUIPA conditions the receipt of federal funds on a State’s waiver of immunity to private damages claims

     
    Document Date 
    Certiorari denied, 131 S. Ct. 2149 (Mem) 04/25/11
    Brief as amicus in response to Court’s invitation 03/18/10
  • Centro Familiar Cristiano Buenas Nuevas v. City of Yuma (9th Cir.) -- Amicus
    • City of Yuma’s zoning code, which permits secular membership organizations to locate in the City’s Old Town District as a matter of right but requires religious membership organizations to obtain a conditional use permit, violates RLUIPA’s equal terms provision, 42 U.S.C. 2000cc(b)(1)

     
    Document Date 
    Court of Appeals Decision [PDF], reported at 651 F.3d 1163 07/12/11
    Brief as Amicus [PDF] 08/07/09
  • Nelson v. Miller (7th Cir.) -- Amicus
    • The magistrate applied an erroneous standard in finding that the denial of the non-meat diet on the grounds that it was not required by Nelson’s religion did not impose a substantial burden on Nelson’s religious exercise within the meaning of that term in RLUIPA

     
    Document Date 
    Court of Appeals Decision [PDF], reported at 570 F.3d 868 07/01/09
    Brief as Amicus [PDF] 09/11/08
  • Digrugilliers v. Consolidated City of Indianapolis (7th Cir.) -- Amicus
    • The district court erred in concluding that the church had not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its RLUIPA “equal terms” claim

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Amicus [PDF] 04/04/07
    Court of Appeals Decision [PDF], reported at 506 F.3d 612 11/02/07
  • Hollywood Community Synagogue & United States v. City of Hollywood (11th Cir.) -- Appellee
    • The district court did not err in denying appellants’ motion to intervene
    • Appellants cannot challenge the entry of the consent decree on the ground that the district court should first have held a hearing

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Appellee [PDF] 10/25/06
    Court of Appeals Decision, 254 F. App'x 769 (unpublished) 11/20/07
  • Westchester Day School v. Village of Mamaroneck (2d Cir.) -- Intervenor & Amicus
    • The district court correctly upheld the constitutionality of RLUIPA
    • The district court properly concluded that defendants substantially burdened plaintiff’s religious exercise, and failed to demonstrate that the substantial burden was imposed to further a compelling governmental interest in the least restrictive manner

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Intervenor & Amicus In Support of Plaintiff-Appellee[PDF] 08/11/06
    Court of Appeals Decision [PDF], reported at 504 F.3d 338 10/17/07
  • Lighthouse Institute for Evangelism v. City of Long Branch (3d Cir.) -- Amicus
    • The equal terms provision of RLUIPA does not contain a substantial burden requirement

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Amicus [PDF] 06/07/06
    Court of Appeals Decision, reported at 510 F.3d 253 11/27/07
  • Faith Temple Church v. Town of Brighton (2d Cir.) -- Amicus
    • Taking Faith Temple’s property pursuant to the comprehensive plan would constitute the imposition or implementation of a land use regulation under RLUIPA

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Amicus in Support of Plaintiff-Appellant [PDF] 05/24/06
  • Faith Center Church Evangelistic Ministries v. Glover (9th Cir.) -- Amicus
    • The County engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination by denying Faith Center equal access to the Antioch meeting rooms
    • There is no practical or constitutionally permissible basis to distinguish worship from religious viewpoints in a broadly defined forum
    • Permitting Faith Center to use Antioch's meeting room on equal terms with other community groups does not violate the Establishment Clause

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Amicus Supporting Appellees and Urging Affirmance [PDF] 11/22/05
    Court of Appeals Decision [PDF], reported at 462 F.3d 1194 09/20/06
  • Barnes-Wallace v. Boy Scouts of America (9th Cir.) -- Amicus
    • The Boy Scouts is not a religious organization for purposes of Establishment Clause analysis
    • Even if the Boy Scouts is considered religious, the leases are value-for-value contracts, not "aid" to a religious organization
    • Even assuming the Boy Scouts is a religious organization and the leases are "aid," such aid would not violate the Constitution

     
    Document Date 
    Court of Appeals Decision , 704 F.3d 1067 12/20/12
    Court of Appeals Order [PDF], reported at 471 F.3d 1038 12/18/06
    Brief as Amicus [PDF] 02/15/05
  • Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Inc. (7th Cir.) -- Amicus
    • The district court incorrectly applied CLUB's standard for assessing facial violations of RLUIPA's substantial burden provision to this as-applied challenge

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Amicus [PDF] 08/13/04
    Court of Appeals Decision [PDF], reported at 396 F.3d 895 02/01/05
  • Guru Nanak Sikh Society v. County of Sutter (9th Cir.) -- Intervenor/Amicus
    • The district court correctly found that the county's denial of Guru Nanak's application for a use permit constituted a substantial burden in violation of Section 2 (a)(1) of RLUIPA
    • RLUIPA Section 2(a)(1), as made applicable by Section 2(a)(2)(c), is a valid exercise of Congress's Section 5 powers because it codifies established constitutional principles

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Intervenor and Amicus [PDF] 05/19/04
    Court of Appeals Decision, reported at 456 F.3d978 08/01/06
  • Muhammed v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (6th Cir.) -- Intervenor-Appellee
    • Title VII's prohibition of religious discrimination, including its accommodation requirement, is valid Section 5 legislation

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Intervenor-Appellee [PDF] 03/08/04
    Appeal dismissed 01/06/05
  • Midrash Sephardi, Inc. v. Town of Surfside (11th Cir.) -- Amicus/Intervenor
    • Surfside's zoning scheme violates Section 2(b)(1) of RLUIPA because it treats religious assemblies on less than equal terms with similarly situated secular assemblies
    • The plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence to survive summary judgment as to whether Surfside's zoning scheme imposes a substantial burden on their exercise of religion in violation of Section 2(a)(1) of RLUIPA
    • The RLUIPA sections at issue are a valid exercise of Congress's authority under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment and under the Commerce Clause

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Amicus[PDF] 11/25/03
    Brief as Intervenor[PDF] 01/05/04
    Court of Appeals Decision [PDF], reported at 366 F.3d 1214 04/21/04
  • Child Evangelism Fellowship of Maryland v. Montgomery County Public Schools (4th Cir.) -- Amicus
    • The district court erred in balancing the imminent harm to CEF against the potential harm to Defendants-Appellees when considering CEF's motion for preliminary injunction
    • The board engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination by denying CEF equal access to its folder forum
    • Permitting CEF to promote its after-school activities on equal terms with other community organizations does not violate the Establishment Clause

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Amicus[PDF] 06/11/03
    Court of Appeals decision [PDF], reported at 373 F.3d 589 06/30/04
  • Child Evangelism Fellowship of New Jersey v. Stafford Township School District (3d Cir.) -- Amicus
    • Stafford engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination by denying CEF equal access to its community communications system
    • Permitting CEF to promote its after-school activities on equal terms with other community organizations does not violate the Establishment Clause

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Amicus[PDF] 05/09/03
    Court of Appeals Decision [PDF], reported at 386 F.3d 514 10/15/04
  • Donovan v. Punxsutawney Area School District (3d Cir.) -- Amicus
    • Denying FISH access to the limited open forum the school has created during the activities period violates the Equal Access Act
    • Denying plaintiff an equal opportunity to hold club meetings during the activity period violates the First Amendment

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Amicus[PDF] 01/09/03
    Court of Appeals Decision [PDF], reported at 336 F.3d 211 07/15/03
  • Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of NY (2d Cir.) -- Amicus
    • Bronx Household's activities fall easily within the broad contours of the school's facility use policy and its exclusion is, thus, viewpoint discrimination
    • There is no practical or constitutionally permissible basis to distinguish worship and religious viewpoints in a broadly defined forum
    • Permitting Bronx Household to rent school facilities on equal terms with others does not violate the Establishment Clause
    • The City's proposed policy modification to exclude religious sermons and services is not constitutionally permissible
    • Permitting Bronx Household to continue to rent school facilities on equal terms with others does not violate the Establishment Clause
    • The Board engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination by denying Bronx Household equal access to the school

     
    Document Date 
    Brief as Amicus[PDF] 10/25/02
    Court of Appeals Decision [PDF], reported at 331 F.3d 342 06/06/03
    Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiff's Summary Judgment Motion[PDF] 05/17/05
    District Court Decision [PDF], reported at 400 F.Supp.2d 581 11/16/05
    Brief as Amicus[PDF] 07/17/06
    Courts of Appeals Decision [PDF], reported at 492 F.3d 89 07/02/07


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