Horsing Around With Conservation: Revisited

By Kevin Rautenstrauch, Albany Government Law Review

This January Andrew Stengel, Editor-in-Chief of Albany Government Law Review, posted on the Fireplace blog: Horsing Around With Conservation Part Two: A Roofless Historical Structure in a Brooklyn Park Hosts Public Outdoor Recreation, But State Parks Claims Otherwise. Stengel’s analysis of legal arguments of records obtained by the state’s Freedom of Information Law and U.S. Freedom of Information Act, which one paper called “seminal,” concluded that the National Parks Service violated the law by removing the Tobacco Warehouse, a historic structure from a protected map.

This week a federal judge ruled that the federal government indeed violated the law thus protecting the Tobacco Warehouse. The lawsuit was based on Stengel’s theory and documents that he provided to the plaintiffs, several Brooklyn community groups.

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”

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”

Panel 2: Legislative Intent and Statutory Interpretation Under RLUIPA

Sarah Darnell, Staff Writer, SDarnell@albanylaw.edu, Tanya Davis, Staff Writer, SDavis@albanylaw.edu & Daniel Wood, Staff Writer, DWood@albanylaw.edu

     The Symposium’s second panel explored legislative intent and statutory interpretation under RLUIPA.  The panel discussed how RLUIPA applies to building codes, aesthetic regulations, the exercise of eminent domain, and determining damages. 

Participating in the panel were:

Amy Lavine from the Albany Law School Government Law Center served as moderator. Continue reading “Panel 2: Legislative Intent and Statutory Interpretation Under RLUIPA”