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Landlord Tenant Law Litigation

Supreme Court Denies Cert in RLUIPA Case

Sets Standard that Potentially Relieves Municipalities from Liability for Denying Religious Uses

The broad and somewhat vague definition of religious exercise in The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) has invited much litigation over what constitutes a substantial burden and even what constitutes religious exercise.

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The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000cc et seq. (RLUIPA), has been a controversial statute, particularly among small municipalities. The federal statute prohibits implementation of a land use regulation “in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious … institution,” unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest 42 U.S.C. 2000cc (a)(1). The broad and somewhat vague definition of religious exercise in the statute has invited much litigation over what constitutes a substantial burden and even what constitutes religious exercise. The statute’s definition “includes any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.” 42 U.S.C 2000cc-5(7)(A).

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