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Employment division v. Smith 1990: an example of Free Exercise Clause case.

Par   •  14 Novembre 2017  •  663 Mots (3 Pages)  •  174 Vues

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II - The very last chance for religious claims to bar application of a neutral and general law

A neutral and generally applicable law can be invalidated if it limits several constitutional rights. Many examples of cases involving freedom of religion and other rights where the Court invalidating the law :

Freedom of speech and of the press :

Murdock v. Pennsylvania 1943 : the Court declared a license tax applied to door-to-door activities (applied to Jehova’s Witnesses) unconstitutional.

The right of parents to direct the education of their children :

acknowledged in Pierce v. Society of Sisters 1925

Wisconsin v. Yoder 1972 : invalidating compulsory school-attendance laws as applied to Amish parents who refused to send their children to school

All in all, the SC declined the respondents’ request that a prohibitable conduct led by religious convictions must be free from governmental regulation, there is no contention that Oregon’s drug law represents an attempt to regulate religious beliefs. The Cour keeps its position adopted in the Reynold case.

This decision was so unpopular that Congress almost unanimously adopted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993 to overturn laws that burden a religious practice. It’s a federal law signed by president Bill Clinton and in 97 the SC announced that it couldn’t apply to the states. More than 20 states have since passed their own RFRA and many claims involving conflict between government rules and religious practices are now brought under the derail or state RFRAs. RFRA said that “governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification”


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