Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2135201
 


 



RLUIPA: Necessary, Modest, and Under-Enforced


Douglas Laycock


University of Virginia School of Law

Luke W. Goodrich


The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

August 23, 2012

Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 39, p. 1021, 2012
Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2012-44

Abstract:     
Creating a physical place of worship is a core First Amendment activity, but churches are often unpopular in the zoning context, and zoning law entails vast discretion. To address the First Amendment and zoning issues that result, Congress enacted the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA). This article addresses the most common criticisms of RLUIPA: that there is no problem for RLUIPA to solve, and that RLUIPA gives churches carte blanche to burden their neighbors.

Twelve years of experience under RLUIPA show that neither criticism has merit. Churches continue to face hostility in the zoning context; RLUIPA is necessary. And while RLULIPA has protected many churches in the face of zoning resistance, churches lose when they overreach; judicial enforcement has been modest.

RLUIPA is actually somewhat underenforced, particularly with respect to its two most important provisions, “substantial burden” and “equal terms.” With respect to equal terms, we offer a clear textual resolution to the interpretive issues that have divided the courts. It is not the proposed land uses that must be equal, but the “terms” of regulation. Cities can exclude whatever assemblies they want without violating the equal terms provision, so long as they exclude religious and secular assemblies in the same terms.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 53

Keywords: RLUIPA, Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, religious land use, substantial burden, equal terms, religious zoning, church zoning, zoning

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: August 24, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Laycock, Douglas and Goodrich, Luke W., RLUIPA: Necessary, Modest, and Under-Enforced (August 23, 2012). Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 39, p. 1021, 2012; Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2012-44. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2135201

Contact Information

Douglas Laycock (Contact Author)
University of Virginia School of Law ( email )
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
Luke W. Goodrich
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty ( email )
3000 K St. NW
Suite 220
Washington, DC 20007
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 552
Downloads: 130
Download Rank: 132,736

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo7 in 0.328 seconds