Friday, July 18, 2003
An Interesting Case
This one might be going to court in the next few years, so consider this a sneak preview. In 2000, Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which bars governments from enforcing zoning codes that impose "a substantial burden" on religious assembly. This law is being challenged in Los Angeles, where a group of Hassidic Orthodox Jews has torn down a 70-year-old house to build a synagogue in the heart of pricey Hancock Hill. A citizens group has been established to protest the construction, while the congreagation argues that the law is on their side. The RLUIPA is new law, and this may be one of the eraly cases to test the constitutionality of the law. This one has so many issues that it can't help but get ugly.