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Religious Freedom Restoration Act Case Study

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The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993 was an attempt to protect religious minorities like the American Indian Movement. Sherbert v Verner and Employment Division v Smith were two cases which led to the adoption of this legislation. Employment Division v Smith was decided when two Native Americans used ceremonial peyote, were fired and were unable to collect unemployment because they were fired for a drug offense or workplace misconduct. The Supreme Court opinion said that the State could deny unemployment benefits to employees fired for this offense, even if it was a part of a religious ceremony. Thus, the 1993 law attempted to protect people like these Native Americans. The RFRA tried to protect Native Americans by saying that the government may not substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion unless the government has a compelling interest and the means used are the least intrusive. This law intended to protect citizens from too much government interference in their religious practices. However, this law was challenged and brought to the Supreme Court. The…show more content…
A closely held corporation owned by a family who are members of the Assemblies of God church argued that paying for employee’s birth control violated their company conscious. The court decided that the company could be given a tax credit by the government in order so that there is less of a burden on the corporation. This case, Burwell v Hobby Lobby was controversial and the dissent, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was interesting as well. She argued that no prior case recognizes a for-profit corporation to be exempt for a generally applicable law. She urged the court to stay out of weighing of religious claims and found no proof of a substantial burden on the corporation. She also argued that corporations are artificial beings existing only in contemplation of law so they have no conscious or
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