How State Photo Identification Standards Can Be Used to Undermine Religious Freedom
Asian American Law Journal: Volume 19 (2012)
7 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2013 Last revised: 28 Jan 2013
Date Written: January 23, 2013
The purpose of this essay is to highlight a latent threat to religious freedom in the post-9/11 environment. In the absence of state laws that track the language of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, state legislatures motivated by anti-Muslim bias can harm religious minorities by enacting facially neutral and generally applicable laws that forbid headcoverings in driver license photographs. If such laws are enacted, individuals who wear religious headcoverings can be forced to choose between religious freedom and valid identification cards, without which travel and economic transactions become exceedingly difficult. As a safeguard against this deprivation of religious freedom, this essay argues for more robust civil rights protections at all levels of American government, including wider adoption of state versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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