Archives: Least Restrictive Means

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Court Denies Summary Judgment in “Integral Yoga” RLUIPA Dispute in Hawaii

Back in 2015, we first reported about a RLUIPA case pitting the County of Maui, Hawaii against practitioners of “Integral Yoga” (prior post available here).  Integral Yoga is a worldwide religious organization established in the U.S. in 1966 that believes “the goal and the birthright of all individuals is to realize the spiritual unity behind … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects Hawaii Cannabis Ministry’s RFRA Challenge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently upheld the convictions of two ministers of the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry who admitted using and distributing large quantities of cannabis in accordance with their religious beliefs.  The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry was founded in 2000 in the City of Hilo, Hawaii as “a community wherein Cannabis … Continue Reading

Sewer Connection Must Be By The Least Restrictive Means

Barbara L. Yoder and Joseph I. Yoder (“Owners”) own a home in Sugar Grove Township, Pennsylvania (“Township”), which has a mandatory sewer connection ordinance (the “Ordinance”), requiring connection to the Sugar Grove Area Sewer Authority’s (“Authority”) infrastructure.  According to the Ordinance, any property that abuts a sewer system constructed by the Authority must connect to … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rules in Favor of Soup Kitchen in Dispute with San Buenaventura, CA

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has reversed a district court’s decision that Harbor Missionary Church’s (Church) religious exercise was not substantially burdened by the City of San Buenaventura’s denial of a conditional use permit.  In 2008, the Church began providing service to the poor and needy in accordance with its religious … Continue Reading

Supreme Judicial Court Holds That Sweat Lodge Prison Closure Violates RLUIPA

This is a guest post contributed by Joseph N. Schneiderman.* On November 23, in Trapp v. Roden, 473 Mass. 210 (2015), the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the Massachusetts Department of Correction’s (DOC) closure of a sweat lodge at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center (SBCC) violated RLUIPA. Justice Fernande R.V. Duffly wrote for a unanimous Court … Continue Reading

Supreme Judicial Court Hears Case Involving Access to Sweat Lodges in Prisons

This is a guest post contributed by Joseph N. Schneiderman.* On October 5, 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts heard argument in Trapp v. Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, SJC-11863. At issue is whether RLUIPA (and the Massachusetts Constitution) recognize Native American inmates’ rights to access sweat lodges—or a sacred location for spiritual purification … Continue Reading

Prisoner in Seventh Circuit to Receive Venison and Religious Headband; Impact of Hobby Lobby and Holt on the Land Use World Continues to Grow.

Last week, we reported on a case where the Southern District of Florida decided against the Florida Department of Corrections, finding its refusal to provide kosher meals to inmates violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The court’s decision was noteworthy for its application of two recent Supreme Court decisions – Burwell … Continue Reading

Kosher Meals for Prisoners: U.S. Department of Justice Wins Claim of Religious Discrimination against the Florida Department of Corrections

A federal court has ruled that the Florida Department of Corrections’ (Department) refusal to provide kosher meals to inmates violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The court’s decision in U.S. v. Florida Department of Correction (S.D. FL 2015) is noteworthy for its application of two recent Supreme Court decisions – Burwell … Continue Reading

Transgender Native American Prisoner Denied Access to Sweat Lodge and Unsatisfied with the Alternative Sues under RLUIPA: More on Less Restrictive Means

Normally, we would not report on an institutionalized person’s claim under RLUIPA, but we do so in Stover v. Corrections Corporation of America (Dist. Idaho 2015) because the decision reflects a recent trend in RLUIPA cases: close judicial scrutiny as to whether a compelling government interest is furthered by “the least restrictive means” available. As … Continue Reading

St. Louis Homeless Shelter Files RLUIPA Claim and Requests Preliminary Injunction to Continue Operations

Plaintiff, New Life Evangelistic Center, Inc., (“New Life”), an interdenominational Christian Church formed in 1972 by Reverend Larry Rice, recently sued the City of St. Louis, Missouri (the “City”) in the Eastern District of Missouri. According to the complaint, New Life operated out of a 50-foot trailer in the early 1970’s, rapidly grew, and then … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit to Consider Effect of Hobby Lobby in Land Use Context

We previously reported on the lawsuit filed by Harbor Missionary Church against San Buenaventura, California involving the City’s denial of a conditional use permit to allow the Church to continue to operate a soup kitchen in a residential neighborhood. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California denied the Church’s motion for a … Continue Reading
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