Panel 3: Constitutional Theories of RLUIPA

Eric Schillinger, Staff Writer, ESchilling@albanylaw.edu & Daniel Katz, Staff Writer, DKatz@albanylaw.edu    

     We’re back live in the Dean Alexander Moot Court Room for the third panel of the Albany Government Law Review’s Symposium – God and the Land.1  The final panel of the day focused on the constitutional issues surrounding RLUIPA and the interaction of land use and religion.2  Four speakers made up the third panel, land use attorney Wendie L. Kellington,3 the former chief referee of Former Chief Referee for Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals and presently a member of the faculty at Puget Sound Law School.  Elizabeth Reilly,4 dean of the University of Akron School of Law, is our second speaker.  Following Ms. Reilly was Leslie Griffin,5 Larry and Joanne Doherty Chair of Legal Ethics at U of Houston Law Center.  Last to speak was Frederick Gedicks,6 Guy Anderson Chair at the Bingham Young School of Law.

     Wendie Kellington began her discussion with an examination of how discrimination in land use proceedings is rarely overt.  Providing a historical background, Ms. Kellington argued that the revolutionary passions that made up the world of eighteenth century America were key to the development of the free exercise clause.  She argued that during the revolution, American colonists wanted  to overthrow all hereditary forms of government, create a government of laws and not of men, and develop a republican system of government that could protect the governed and grow with time.  She stated that the key to the free exercise clause’s development relied on this revolutionary spirit, and that in today’s society, where the passionate struggle for revolution in government is long over, American society lacks the tenacity it once had in this realm. Continue reading “Panel 3: Constitutional Theories of RLUIPA”

Panel 4: Beginning to Answer RLUIPA’s Unanswered Questions

Sarah Darnell, Staff Writer, SDarnell@albanylaw.edu

     The God and the Land symposium concluded Friday morningwith its fourth and final panel, which gave practitioners an opportunity to discuss questions raised in litigating the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLIUPA) and give advice on how to deal with issues as they arise.1 

     Participating panelists were: Dan DaltonDwight H. Merriam, and Julie A. Tappendorf.  Patricia Salkin & Amy Lavine lead the discussion by posing questions to the panelists.   Continue reading “Panel 4: Beginning to Answer RLUIPA’s Unanswered Questions”

Marci A. Hamilton Gives the 13th Annual Edwin L. Crawford Memorial Lecture on Municipal Law: Why RLUIPA is an Unconstitutional Establishment of Religion

Tanya Davis, Staff Writer, TDavis@albanylaw.edu    

     Friday, the third and final day of the God and the Land symposium, began with the Edwin Crawford Memorial Lecture on Municipal Law, delivered by Marci A. Hamilton, the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and author of God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the School of Law.1The subject of her lecture was the unconstitutionality of RLUIPA and the threat it poses to local municipalities in undermining their ability to enforce and draw up zoning laws. Professor Hamilton is one of the leading scholars in the nation in the area of the separation of church and state, and was lead counsel for City of Boerne, Texas in City of Boerne v. Flores2, which held the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA)3unconstitutional. She also clerked for Justice O’Conner when Employment Div. v. Smith4 was decided.   

     Professor Hamilton, who has often been accused of being “too extreme” in her support of the protection of religion, shared that she was “taken aback” when, as soon as she became lead counsel in the City of Boerne case, when she began to get calls from groups that lobby against religious institutions.  These were largely children’s advocacy groups, particularly those acting on behalf of children who die in faith healing homes and communities etc.  Ms. Hamilton soon learned that some religious groups had caused enough harm in our society to mobilize such a massive counter movement.  This was an eye opening experience for her.   Continue reading “Marci A. Hamilton Gives the 13th Annual Edwin L. Crawford Memorial Lecture on Municipal Law: Why RLUIPA is an Unconstitutional Establishment of Religion”

Judge McConnell of the Tenth Circuit Offers the Edwin Sabota ’79 Memorial Lecture

Robert Magee, Staff Writer, RMagee@albanylaw.edu

     The second day of the symposium began in the Dean Alexander Moot Courtroom at Albany Law School with the Edward C. Sebota ’79 Memorial Lecture, delivered by the Honorable Michael McConnell of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.  He presented an overview of the judicial interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause as compared to similar interpretations of the Free Speech clause. He further explored the Supreme Court’s historical treatment of these protections and explained why and how and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) (1) came to be.

    After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School in 1979, Judge McConnell clerked for Judge James Skelly Wright of the D.C. Circuit and then Justice Brennan of the U.S. Supreme Court, from 1980-1981. He went on to teach at his alma mater and then the University of Utah college of law, where he teaches to this day. (2) 

     Judge McConnell was appointed to the 10th Circuit in September of 2001.  While sitting on the bench Michael McConnell has authored three opinions which have come before the Supreme Court which have been adopted by the Court. (3) Continue reading “Judge McConnell of the Tenth Circuit Offers the Edwin Sabota ’79 Memorial Lecture”