Washington Law Review


Evan M. Shapior


Congress based the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) on accumulated evidence suggesting that the land use decisions of local governments unfairly burden religious uses. The RLUIPA is narrower in scope than two previous statutes aimed at protecting religious liberty. The United States Supreme Court held the first of these religious liberty statutes unconstitutional, and Congress failed to enact the other. This Comment examines the constitutionality of the RLUIPA under the Commerce Clause and argues that Congress exceeded its Commerce Clause authority because (1) land use regulation does not constitute "economic activity" as defined by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Lopez and United States v. Morrison and (2) land use regulation is insufficiently connected to interstate commerce.

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