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Boerne Supremacy: Congressional Responses to City of Boerne v. Flores and the Scope of Congress's Article I Powers

Michael Paisner
Columbia Law Review
Vol. 105, No. 2 (Mar., 2005), pp. 537-582
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4099317
Page Count: 46
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Boerne Supremacy: Congressional Responses to City of Boerne v. Flores and the Scope of Congress's Article I Powers
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Abstract

In City of Boerne v. Flores, the Supreme Court struck down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as beyond Congress's Section 5 powers. Congress responded pursuant to its Article I powers, enacting into law the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) after the broader Religious Liberty Protection Act (RLPA) failed to garner Senate approval. This Note assesses the constitutionality of RLUIPA. Part I traces the history of the religion statutes from RFRA to RLPA to RLUIPA. Part II analyzes the separation of powers principles established by the Boerne Court and assesses the relevance of these principles to congressional action pursuant to Article I. Part III applies the "Overlapping Powers" analysis to the Article I portions of RLPA and RLUIPA. Through the Overlapping Powers analysis, this Note argues that RLUIPA is constitutional because its relatively narrow scope evinces congressional willingness to engage the Court in an ongoing constitutional dialogue.

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