'The Most Demanding Test Known to Constitutional Law': Do Coronavirus Bans on Church Services Satisfy Religious Freedom Restoration Act Requirements?
17 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2020
Date Written: 2020
On March 29, Houston Pastor Juan Bustamante was warned that he could face fines and imprisonment for continuing to hold in-person church services. The next day he filed an Emergency Petition for Writ of Mandamus in the Texas Supreme Court. This Article evaluates his case, which could have broad implications because—like many states—Texas has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that closely mirrors the federal RFRA. Arguments from both sides are analyzed to determine if such government action limiting religious practice is likely to overcome what the Supreme Court has identified as “the most demanding test known to constitutional law.” City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507, 534 (1997).
Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, RFRA, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, First Amendment, Stay at Home Order, Freedom of Religion
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