US (United States) Code. Title 42. Chapter 21B: Religious freedom restoration

Codificación normativa de EEUU (Estados Unidos). Legislación federal estadounidense # The Public Health and Welfare

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42 USC CHAPTER 21B - RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION 01/06/03

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TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 21B - RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION

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CHAPTER 21B - RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION

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Sec.

2000bb. Congressional findings and declaration of

purposes.

(a) Findings.

(b) Purposes.

2000bb-1. Free exercise of religion protected.

(a) In general.

(b) Exception.

(c) Judicial relief.

2000bb-2. Definitions.

2000bb-3. Applicability.

(a) In general.

(b) Rule of construction.

(c) Religious belief unaffected.

2000bb-4. Establishment clause unaffected.

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CHAPTER REFERRED TO IN OTHER SECTIONS

This chapter is referred to in sections 1988, 1996a of this

title; title 5 section 504.

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42 USC Sec. 2000bb 01/06/03

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TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 21B - RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION

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Sec. 2000bb. Congressional findings and declaration of purposes

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(a) Findings

The Congress finds that -

(1) the framers of the Constitution, recognizing free exercise

of religion as an unalienable right, secured its protection in

the First Amendment to the Constitution;

(2) laws "neutral" toward religion may burden religious

exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious

exercise;

(3) governments should not substantially burden religious

exercise without compelling justification;

(4) in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990) the

Supreme Court virtually eliminated the requirement that the

government justify burdens on religious exercise imposed by laws

neutral toward religion; and

(5) the compelling interest test as set forth in prior Federal

court rulings is a workable test for striking sensible balances

between religious liberty and competing prior governmental

interests.

(b) Purposes

The purposes of this chapter are -

(1) to restore the compelling interest test as set forth in

Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963) and Wisconsin v. Yoder,

406 U.S. 205 (1972) and to guarantee its application in all cases

where free exercise of religion is substantially burdened; and

(2) to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious

exercise is substantially burdened by government.

-SOURCE-

(Pub. L. 103-141, Sec. 2, Nov. 16, 1993, 107 Stat. 1488.)

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REFERENCES IN TEXT

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (b), was in the original

"this Act", meaning Pub. L. 103-141, Nov. 16, 1993, 107 Stat. 1488,

which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete

classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note below

and Tables.

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SHORT TITLE

Section 1 of Pub. L. 103-141 provided that: "This Act [enacting

this chapter and amending section 1988 of this title and section

504 of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees] may be cited

as the 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993'."

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42 USC Sec. 2000bb-1 01/06/03

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TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 21B - RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION

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Sec. 2000bb-1. Free exercise of religion protected

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(a) In general

Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of

religion even if the burden results from a rule of general

applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this

section.

(b) Exception

Government may substantially burden a person's exercise of

religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to

the person -

(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest;

and

(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that

compelling governmental interest.

(c) Judicial relief

A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation

of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in

a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a

government. Standing to assert a claim or defense under this

section shall be governed by the general rules of standing under

article III of the Constitution.

-SOURCE-

(Pub. L. 103-141, Sec. 3, Nov. 16, 1993, 107 Stat. 1488.)

-SECREF-

SECTION REFERRED TO IN OTHER SECTIONS

This section is referred to in section 1996a of this title.

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42 USC Sec. 2000bb-2 01/06/03

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TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 21B - RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION

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Sec. 2000bb-2. Definitions

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As used in this chapter -

(1) the term "government" includes a branch, department,

agency, instrumentality, and official (or other person acting

under color of law) of the United States, or of a covered entity;

(2) the term "covered entity" means the District of Columbia,

the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each territory and

possession of the United States;

(3) the term "demonstrates" means meets the burdens of going

forward with the evidence and of persuasion; and

(4) the term "exercise of religion" means religious exercise,

as defined in section 2000cc-5 of this title.

-SOURCE-

(Pub. L. 103-141, Sec. 5, Nov. 16, 1993, 107 Stat. 1489; Pub. L.

106-274, Sec. 7(a), Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 806.)

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AMENDMENTS

2000 - Par. (1). Pub. L. 106-274, Sec. 7(a)(1), substituted "or

of a covered entity" for "a State, or a subdivision of a State".

Par. (2). Pub. L. 106-274, Sec. 7(a)(2), substituted "term

'covered entity' means" for "term 'State' includes".

Par. (4). Pub. L. 106-274, Sec. 7(a)(3), substituted "religious

exercise, as defined in section 2000cc-5 of this title" for "the

exercise of religion under the First Amendment to the

Constitution".

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42 USC Sec. 2000bb-3 01/06/03

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TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 21B - RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION

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Sec. 2000bb-3. Applicability

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(a) In general

This chapter applies to all Federal law, and the implementation

of that law, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether adopted

before or after November 16, 1993.

(b) Rule of construction

Federal statutory law adopted after November 16, 1993, is subject

to this chapter unless such law explicitly excludes such

application by reference to this chapter.

(c) Religious belief unaffected

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to authorize any

government to burden any religious belief.

-SOURCE-

(Pub. L. 103-141, Sec. 6, Nov. 16, 1993, 107 Stat. 1489; Pub. L.

106-274, Sec. 7(b), Sept. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 806.)

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AMENDMENTS

2000 - Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 106-274 struck out "and State" after

"Federal".

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42 USC Sec. 2000bb-4 01/06/03

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TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 21B - RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION

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Sec. 2000bb-4. Establishment clause unaffected

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Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect, interpret,

or in any way address that portion of the First Amendment

prohibiting laws respecting the establishment of religion (referred

to in this section as the "Establishment Clause"). Granting

government funding, benefits, or exemptions, to the extent

permissible under the Establishment Clause, shall not constitute a

violation of this chapter. As used in this section, the term

"granting", used with respect to government funding, benefits, or

exemptions, does not include the denial of government funding,

benefits, or exemptions.

-SOURCE-

(Pub. L. 103-141, Sec. 7, Nov. 16, 1993, 107 Stat. 1489.)

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