Around the Web

Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:

Weinstein on RLUIPA’s Effect on Local Governments

Alan C. Weinstein (Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University) has posted The Effect of RLUIPA’s Land Use Provisions on Local Governments. The abstract follows.

In the absence of perfect information about how RLUIPA has affected local governments, this article argues that the courts have adopted a pragmatic approach to maneuvering in the difficult terrain that RLUIPA occupies: combining appropriate judicial deference to a legislature that enacts a neutral law of general applicability with the heightened judicial scrutiny that becomes appropriate when that same law is applied to a specific zoning approval, a circumstance that frequently allows for subjectivity, and thus the potential for discrimination or arbitrariness against religious uses, in the approval process. I conclude that: (1) until proven otherwise, the costs RLUIPA undoubtedly imposes on local governments is the price to be paid for insuring against the discriminatory or arbitrary application of land use regulations and (2) RLUIPA does not seek to establish an unconstitutional preference for religious uses, but rather a proper accommodation of religious exercise in the land use context.

Noda on The Role of Economics in the Discourse on RLUIPA and Nondiscrimination in Religious Land Use

Tokufumi Joshua Noda  (Student at Boston College Law School) has posted The Role of Economics in the Discourse on RLUIPA and Nondiscrimination in Religious Land Use. The abstract follows. – ARH

Courts have been divided over the proper application of the substantial burden and equal terms provisions of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) to religious land-use cases. In particular, courts and scholars have had trouble balancing the competing concerns between municipalities and religious institutions regarding control over land-use regulations. The basic question remains, how to provide religious institutions with protection against discrimination without conceding too much control over land-use regulations. This Note observes the use of economic principles in Judge Posner’s opinions, which can help guide a balanced, fact-sensitive application of RLUIPA’s provisions. Using this approach, courts can balance competing concerns by weighing them against relevant facts that are specific to each community. Nevertheless, although the economic approach sheds light on the application of RLUIPA, it also reveals new tensions both within RLUIPA’s application and the economic approach generally.