Free Exercise, Historic Religious Properties & Sacred Sites: The Effect of RFRA & RLUIPA (18 September 2008)

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) created a cause of action for persons whose exercise of religion is substantially burdened by a government action, regardless of whether the burden results from a neutral law of general applicability.  In 1997, the Supreme Court invalidated RFRA as applied to the States, in a case involving a town's denial of a permit to demolish a historic sanctuary building (the law still remains operative as to the Federal Government and to the District of Columbia). The response of Congress to that decision was its  enactment of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA).  RLUIPA reinstated the general rule of RFRA — that government action which substantially burdens religious exercise can be justified only if it is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest — but this time, the law only would apply to  Local, State or Federal action involving land use or institutionalized persons. How have the courts applied RFRA to Federal actions involving historic religious properties or sacred sites, and what effect might RLUIPA have on otherwise valid and neutral historic preservation laws?  Drawing on recent case law and current litigation, the speakers will address these questions.



The Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation
American University Washington College of Law
National Park Service


Thursday, September 18, 2008
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm


American University
Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW
6th Floor
Washington, DC


General Registration:   No charge, but we need you to pre-register
CLE Accreditation (2 credits) will be applied for – CLE Registration -  $35

For more information and to register, please contact:

Office of Special Events & Continuing Legal Education
American University Washington College of Law
Tel: 202-274-4075

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