, Cutter v. Wilkinson :: 544 U.S. 709 (2005) :: US LAW US Supreme Court Center

Cutter v. Wilkinson :: 544 U.S. 709 (2005) :: US LAW US Supreme Court Center

    USLaw.Site Opinion Summary and Annotations


    Primary Holding
    It is permissible to limit prison government from burdening the spiritual sports of prisoners, notwithstanding the Establishment Clause. Facts
    Prison officers aren't allowed to impose a significant burden at the unfastened workout of religion by prisoners, unless a compelling government hobby is worried. Ohio prisoners argued that this provision in the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 had been violated whilst prison authorities did no longer accommodate their exercise of religions inclusive of Satanism, Wicca, and Asatru. The government countered by means of arguing that the availability become unconstitutional below the First Amendment because it allowed the authorities to improve religion. The lower court docket dominated in desire of the prisoners, but the Sixth Circuit dominated that the regulation became unconstitutional. Opinions


    • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Author)
    • William Hubbs Rehnquist
    • Antonin Scalia
    • Anthony M. Kennedy
    • David H. Souter
    • John Paul Stevens
    • Sandra Day O'Connor
    • Clarence Thomas
    • Stephen G. Breyer

    The RLUIPA provision amounted to an lodging for the unfastened workout of faith, and it does no longer choose any faith over another. The First Amendment does not save you Congress from attempting to lighten the burdens that prisoners face with reference to the loose workout of their religions. There might be troubles if the law had been enforced to the volume that prisoners of positive religions or especially devout prisoners obtained preferred treatment, or if jail safety had been unduly undermined by using the loose exercise of religion, however these troubles have not arisen here.


    • Clarence Thomas (Author)
    Case Commentary
    The implementation of this regulation transferred the load to the jail officers in proving that their moves required obedience, rather than requiring that the prisoners show that their movements did not require obedience.
    Read greater

    OCTOBER TERM, 2004



    certiorari to the us courtroom of appeals for the 6th circuit

    No. 03–9877.Argued March 21, 2005—Decided May 31, 2005

    Section three of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U. S. C. §2000cc–1(a)(1)–(2), offers in part: “No government shall impose a full-size burden at the religious exercise of a person residing in or restrained to an group,” until the weight furthers “a compelling governmental hobby,” and does so by “the least restrictive means.” Petitioners, modern and previous inmates of Ohio country institutions, allege, inter alia, that respondent jail officials violated §three through failing to house petitioners’ workout in their “nonmainstream” religions in a whole lot of methods. Respondents moved to disregard that declare, arguing, among different matters, that §3, on its face, improperly advances faith in violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Rejecting that argument, the District Court said that RLUIPA permits safety and security—undisputedly compelling kingdom pastimes—to outweigh an inmate’s declare to a religious accommodation. On the thin report earlier than it, the court docket could not find that enforcement of RLUIPA, unavoidably, would compromise prison security. Reversing on interlocutory enchantment, the Sixth Circuit held that §three impermissibly advances religion by means of giving more protection to religious rights than to other constitutionally blanketed rights, and suggested that affording spiritual prisoners superior rights would possibly encourage prisoners to come to be non secular.

    Held: Section three of RLUIPA, on its face, qualifies as a permissible accommodation that is not barred with the aid of the Establishment Clause. Pp. eight–16.

       (a) Foremost, §three is well suited with the Establishment Clause as it alleviates notable authorities-created burdens on private spiritual workout. See, e.g., Board of Ed. of Kiryas Joel Village School Dist. v. Grumet, 512 U. S. 687, 705. Furthermore, the Act on its face does not founder on shoals the Court’s previous selections have recognized: Properly applying RLUIPA, courts have to take ok account of the burdens a asked accommodation may also impose on nonbeneficiaries, see Estate of Thornton v. Caldor, Inc., 472 U. S. 703; and they must be glad that the Act’s prescriptions are and can be administered neutrally among unique faiths, see Kiryas Joel, 512 U. S. 687. “[T]he ‘exercise of religion’ frequently involves no longer simplest notion and profession but the overall performance of … physical acts [such as] assembling with others for a worship carrier [or] participating in sacramental use of bread and wine … .” Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith, 494 U. S. 872, 877. Section three covers country-run institutions—mental hospitals, prisons, and so forth—in which the authorities exerts a degree of manage unparalleled in civilian society and seriously disabling to personal religious exercising. 42 U. S. C. §2000cc–1(a); §1997. RLUIPA hence protects institutionalized humans who're not able freely to attend to their spiritual desires and are consequently dependent on the authorities’s permission and accommodation for workout in their religion. But the Act does now not increase lodging of non secular observances over an institution’s need to keep order and protection. An lodging must be measured in order that it does no longer override other substantial pursuits. See Caldor, 472 U. S., at 709–710. There is not any cause to agree with that RLUIPA would now not be implemented in an accurately balanced way, with specific sensitivity to security concerns. While the Act adopts a “compelling interest” fashionable, §2000cc–1(a), “[c]ontext matters” within the application of that general, see Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U. S. 306, 327. Lawmakers helping RLUIPA had been conscious of the urgency of area, order, protection, and security in penal institutions and anticipated that courts could follow the Act’s fashionable with due deference to prison directors’ revel in and understanding. Finally, RLUIPA does not differentiate among bona fide faiths. It confers no privileged repute on any precise spiritual sect. Cf. Kiryas Joel, 512 U. S., at 706. Pp. 8–13.

       (b) The Sixth Circuit misread this Court’s precedents to require invalidation of RLUIPA as impermissibly advancing faith by using giving greater safety to spiritual rights than to different constitutionally protected rights. Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter&nbhyph;day Saints v. Amos, 483 U. S. 327, counsels in any other case. There, in upholding against an Establishment Clause mission a provision exempting non secular groups from the prohibition against religion-based totally employment discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Court held that religious motels need no longer “come packaged with advantages to secular entities.” Id., at 338. Were the Court of Appeals’ view correct, all manner of spiritual hotels would fall. For instance, Ohio could not, as it now does, accommodate traditionally recognized religions by way of presenting chaplains and allowing worship offerings. In upholding §three, the Court emphasizes that respondents have raised a facial task and feature now not contended that applying RLUIPA could produce unconstitutional consequences in any precise case. There isn't any cause to count on that abusive prisoner litigation will overburden country and local institutions. However, should inmate requests for religious lodges turn out to be immoderate, impose unjustified burdens on other institutionalized humans, or jeopardize an organization’s powerful functioning, the ability might be unfastened to withstand the imposition. In that event, adjudication in as-carried out challenges might be in order. Pp. thirteen–16.

    349 F. 3d 257, reversed and remanded.

       Ginsburg, J., introduced the opinion for a unanimous Court. Thomas, J., filed a concurring opinion.

    544 U. S. ____ (2005)

    NO. 03-9877


    on writ of certiorari to the usa court docket of appeals for the sixth circuit

    [May 31, 2005]

       Justice Ginsburg introduced the opinion of the Court.

       Section three of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 114 Stat. 804, 42 U. S. C. §2000cc–1(a)(1)–(2), provides in component: “No government shall impose a significant burden on the spiritual exercising of someone dwelling in or limited to an group,” unless the load furthers “a compelling governmental hobby,” and does so with the aid of “the least restrictive manner.” Plaintiffs under, petitioners here, are contemporary and former inmates of establishments operated by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and assert that they're adherents of “nonmainstream” religions: the Satanist, Wicca, and Asatru religions, and the Church of Jesus Christ Christian.[Footnote 1] They bitch that Ohio jail officers (respondents here), in violation of RLUIPA, have did not accommodate their religious exercise

    “in quite a few extraordinary methods, consisting of retaliating and discriminating in opposition to them for exercise their nontraditional faiths, denying them get admission to to non secular literature, denying them the same opportunities for institution worship which are granted to adherents of mainstream religions, forbidding them to adhere to the get dressed and appearance mandates in their religions, withholding non secular ceremonial objects which are significantly equal to those that the adherents of mainstream religions are approved, and failing to provide a chaplain educated of their religion.” Brief for United States five.

    For purposes of this litigation at its modern stage, respondents have stipulated that petitioners are members of bona fide religions and that they're honest in their beliefs. Gerhardt v. Lazaroff, 221 F. Supp. second 827, 833 (SD Ohio 2002).

       In response to petitioners’ lawsuits, respondent prison officials have mounted a facial challenge to the institutionalized-humans provision of RLUIPA; respondents contend, inter alia, that the Act improperly advances religion in violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The District Court denied respondents’ motion to dismiss petitioners’ court cases, but the Court of Appeals reversed that willpower. The appeals courtroom held, as the jail officials urged, that the portion of RLUIPA applicable to institutionalized individuals, 42 U. S. C. §2000cc–1, violates the Establishment Clause. We reverse the Court of Appeals’ judgment.

       “This Court has long identified that the authorities may … accommodate religious practices … with out violating the Establishment Clause.” Hobbie v. Unemployment Appeals Comm’n of Fla., 480 U. S. 136, a hundred and forty four–a hundred forty five (1987). Just remaining Term, in Locke v. Davey, 540 U. S. 712 (2004), the Court reaffirmed that “there is room for play in the joints between” the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses, permitting the authorities to deal with faith past free exercise necessities, with out offense to the Establishment Clause. Id., at 718 (quoting Walz v. Tax Comm’n of City of New York, 397 U. S. 664, 669 (1970)). “At some point, accommodation may additionally devolve into ‘an unlawful fostering of religion.’ ” Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter&nbhyph;day Saints v. Amos, 483 U. S. 327, 334–335 (1987) (quoting Hobbie, 480 U. S., at one hundred forty five). But §three of RLUIPA, we preserve, does now not, on its face, exceed the bounds of permissible authorities accommodation of non secular practices.



       RLUIPA is the modern of long-walking congressional efforts to accord spiritual workout heightened protection from government-imposed burdens, steady with this Court’s precedents. Ten years earlier than RLUIPA’s enactment, the Court held, in Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith, 494 U. S. 872, 878–882 (1990), that the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause does no longer inhibit enforcement of in any other case valid laws of general software that by the way burden religious behavior. In particular, we ruled that the Free Exercise Clause did now not bar Oregon from enforcing its blanket ban on peyote possession without a allowance for sacramental use of the drug. Accordingly, the State should deny unemployment blessings to humans disregarded from their jobs because of their religiously inspired peyote use. Id., at 874, 890. The Court diagnosed, however, that the political branches should protect non secular exercise through legislative accommodation, for instance, by means of making an exception to proscriptive drug legal guidelines for sacramental peyote use. Id., at 890.

       Responding to Smith, Congress enacted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 107 Stat. 1488, 42 U. S. C. §2000bb et seq. RFRA “prohibits ‘[g]overnment’ from ‘notably burden[ing]’ a person’s exercising of religion even if the weight effects from a rule of standard applicability until the authorities can display the weight ‘(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental hobby; and (2) is the least restrictive way of furthering that compelling governmental hobby.’ ” City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U. S. 507, 515–516 (1997) (brackets in original) (quoting §2000bb–1). “[U]niversal” in its coverage, RFRA “applie[d] to all Federal and State law,” id., at 516 (quoting former §2000bb–three(a)), however notably lacked a Commerce Clause underpinning or a Spending Clause difficulty to recipients of federal funds. In City of Boerne, this Court invalidated RFRA as applied to States and their subdivisions, conserving that the Act passed Congress’ remedial powers below the Fourteenth Amendment. Id., at 532–536.[Footnote 2]

       Congress again answered, this time via enacting RLUIPA. Less sweeping than RFRA, and invoking federal authority under the Spending and Commerce Clauses, RLUIPA objectives two regions: Section 2 of the Act issues land-use law, 42 U. S. C. §2000cc;[Footnote three] §three pertains to spiritual workout by using institutionalized people, §2000cc–1. Section 3, at trouble here, provides that “[n]o [state or local] government shall impose a big burden on the religious workout of someone living in or constrained to an institution,” until the government indicates that the weight furthers “a compelling governmental hobby” and does so via “the least restrictive approach.” §2000cc–1(a)(1)–(2). The Act defines “non secular exercise” to consist of “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or valuable to, a system of spiritual perception.” §2000cc–5(7)(A). Section three applies when “the giant burden [on religious exercise] is imposed in a application or pastime that gets Federal economic assistance,”[Footnote four] or “the tremendous burden affects, or elimination of that widespread burden could have an effect on, commerce with overseas nations, some of the numerous States, or with Indian tribes.” §2000cc–1(b)(1)–(2). “A individual may also assert a contravention of [RLUIPA] as a declare or defense in a judicial intending and achieve suitable remedy against a central authority.” §2000cc–2(a).

       Before enacting §three, Congress documented, in hearings spanning 3 years, that “frivolous or arbitrary” obstacles impeded institutionalized persons’ religious exercise. See 146 Cong. Rec. S7774, S7775 (July 27, 2000) (joint declaration of Senator Hatch and Senator Kennedy on RLUIPA) (hereinafter Joint Statement) (“Whether from indifference, ignorance, bigotry, or lack of sources, a few establishments limit non secular liberty in egregious and unnecessary ways.”).[Footnote 5] To stable redress for inmates who encountered undue barriers to their spiritual observances, Congress carried over from RFRA the “compelling governmental hobby”/“least restrictive manner” standard. See identification., at S7774. Lawmakers expected, but, that courts pleasing proceedings beneath §3 could accord “due deference to the experience and understanding of prison and prison administrators.” Id., at S7775 (quoting S. Rep. No. 103–111, p. 10 (1993)).


       Petitioners first of all filed suit in opposition to respondents maintaining claims below the First and Fourteenth Amendments. After RLUIPA’s enactment, petitioners amended their complaints to consist of claims beneath §3. Respondents moved to brush aside the statutory claims, arguing, inter alia, that §3 violates the Establishment Clause. 221 F. Supp. second, at 846. Pursuant to twenty-eight U. S. C. §2403(a), the US intervened inside the District Court to guard RLUIPA’s constitutionality. 349 F. 3d 257, 261 (CA6 2003).

       Adopting the file and advice of the Magistrate Judge, the District Court rejected the argument that §three conflicts with the Establishment Clause. 221 F. Supp. 2nd, at 846–848. As to the Act’s impact on a prison’s staff and fashionable inmate population, the court stated that RLUIPA “lets in safety and security—which are undisputedly compelling country pursuits—to outweigh an inmate’s claim to a non secular lodging.” Id., at 848. On the thin document before it, the court docket declined to locate, as respondents had entreated, that enforcement of RLUIPA, unavoidably, might compromise prison security. Ibid.

       On interlocutory enchantment pursuant to 28 U. S. C. §1292(b), the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed. Citing Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U. S. 602 (1971),[Footnote 6] the Court of Appeals held that §3 of RLUIPA “impermissibly advanc[es] faith by way of giving extra safety to religious rights than to different constitutionally included rights.” 349 F. 3d, at 264. Affording “religious prisoners rights advanced to those of nonreligious prisoners,” the court recommended, would possibly “encourag[e] prisoners to end up non secular on the way to experience more rights.” Id., at 266.

       We granted certiorari to clear up the struggle amongst Courts of Appeals at the query whether RLUIPA’s institutionalized-folks provision, §three of the Act, is steady with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. 543 U. S. ___ (2004).[Footnote 7] Compare 349 F. 3d 257, with Madison v. Riter, 355 F. 3d 310, 313 (CA4 2003) (§3 of RLUIPA does not violate the Establishment Clause); Charles v. Verhagen, 348 F. 3d 601, 610–611 (CA7 2003) (identical); Mayweathers v. Newland, 314 F. 3d 1062, 1068–1069 (CA9 2002) (equal). We now reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.



       The Religion Clauses of the First Amendment offer: “Congress shall make no regulation respecting an status quo of faith, or prohibiting the loose workout thereof.” The first of the 2 Clauses, normally called the Establishment Clause, commands a separation of church and state. The 2d, the Free Exercise Clause, calls for authorities respect for, and noninterference with, the religious beliefs and practices of our Nation’s human beings. While the 2 Clauses explicit complementary values, they often exert conflicting pressures. See Locke, 540 U. S., at 718 (“These Clauses … are frequently in anxiety.”); Walz, 397 U. S., at 668–669 (“The Court has struggled to find a impartial direction between the 2 Religion Clauses, both of which can be solid in absolute phrases, and either of which, if elevated to a logical excessive, could generally tend to conflict with the opposite.”).

       Our choices recognize that “there may be room for play inside the joints” between the Clauses, identification., at 669, a few space for legislative movement neither forced via the Free Exercise Clause nor prohibited by the Establishment Clause. See, e.g., Smith, 494 U. S., at 890 (“[A] society that believes inside the terrible safety accorded to spiritual belief can be expected to be solicitous of that value in its legislation … .”); Amos, 483 U. S., at 329–330 (Federal Government may exempt secular nonprofit sports of non secular companies from Title VII’s prohibition on non secular discrimination in employment); Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U. S. 398, 422 (1963) (Harlan, J., dissenting) (“The constitutional duty of ‘neutrality’ isn't so slim a channel that the slightest deviation from an definitely straight route leads to condemnation.” (quotation omitted)). In accord with the bulk of Courts of Appeals which have ruled on the query, see supra, at 7–8, we maintain that §3 of RLUIPA suits within the hall among the Religion Clauses: On its face, the Act qualifies as a permissible legislative lodging of faith that is not barred by means of the Establishment Clause.

       Foremost, we discover RLUIPA’s institutionalized-people provision compatible with the Establishment Clause because it alleviates tremendous government-created burdens on non-public religious exercising. See Board of Ed. of Kiryas Joel Village School Dist. v. Grumet, 512 U. S. 687, 705 (1994) (government want not “be oblivious to impositions that legitimate physical games of state power might also region on religious belief and practice”); Amos, 483 U. S., at 349 (O’Connor, J., concurring in judgment) (removal of government-imposed burdens on spiritual workout is much more likely to be perceived “as an accommodation of the exercising of faith in place of as a Government endorsement of faith”). Furthermore, the Act on its face does no longer founder on shoals our earlier selections have identified: Properly applying RLUIPA, courts must take ok account of the burdens a requested accommodation may impose on nonbeneficiaries, see Estate of Thornton v. Caldor, Inc., 472 U. S. 703 (1985); and that they need to be glad that the Act’s prescriptions are and could be administered neutrally among one-of-a-kind faiths, see Kiryas Joel, 512 U. S. 687.[Footnote eight]

       “[T]he ‘exercising of faith’ often includes now not most effective perception and profession however the performance of … physical acts [such as] assembling with others for a worship service [or] participating in sacramental use of bread and wine … .” Smith, 494 U. S., at 877. Section three covers country-run establishments—intellectual hospitals, prisons, etc—in which the authorities exerts a degree of manage extraordinary in civilian society and seriously disabling to private religious exercise. forty two U. S. C. §2000cc–1(a); §1997; see Joint Statement S7775 (“Institutional citizens’ proper to practice their religion is at the mercy of those going for walks the group.”).[Footnote nine] RLUIPA as a consequence protects institutionalized people who're not able freely to take care of their spiritual needs and are therefore dependent on the government’s permission and lodging for workout in their faith.[Footnote 10]

       We note on this regard the Federal Government’s lodging of non secular exercise with the aid of individuals of the navy. See, e.g., 10 U. S. C. §3073 (regarding Army chaplains); Katcoff v. Marsh, 755 F. 2d 223, 225–229 (CA2 1985) (describing the Army chaplaincy program). In Goldman v. Weinberger, 475 U. S. 503 (1986), we held that the Free Exercise Clause did not require the Air Force to exempt an Orthodox Jewish officer from uniform get dressed regulations so that he should wear a yarmulke indoors. In a army community, the Court determined, “there is absolutely no longer the identical [individual] autonomy as there may be in the large civilian community.” Id., at 507 (brackets in unique; inner citation marks omitted). Congress spoke back to Goldman by way of prescribing that “a member of the armed forces may additionally wear an item of spiritual garb at the same time as wearing the uniform,” unless “the sporting of the item would intervene with the performance [of] army obligations [or] the item of apparel isn't neat and conservative.” 10 U. S. C. §774(a)–(b).

       We do not examine RLUIPA to raise lodging of non secular observances over an group’s need to preserve order and protection. Our decisions suggest that an accommodation should be measured in order that it does no longer override different large interests. In Caldor, the Court struck down a Connecticut law that “arm[ed] Sabbath observers with an absolute and unqualified right no longer to work on some thing day they designate[d] as their Sabbath.” 472 U. S., at 709. We held the law invalid below the Establishment Clause as it “unyielding[ly] weigh[ted]” the pursuits of Sabbatarians “over all other interests.” Id., at 710.

       We don't have any purpose to believe that RLUIPA would now not be implemented in an accurately balanced way, with specific sensitivity to protection worries. While the Act adopts a “compelling governmental interest” widespread, see supra, at five, “[c]ontext subjects” inside the software of that standard. See Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U. S. 306, 327 (2003).[Footnote 11] Lawmakers helping RLUIPA had been conscious of the urgency of area, order, safety, and protection in penal institutions. See, e.g., 139 Cong. Rec. 26190 (1993) (remarks of Senator Hatch). They expected that courts would follow the Act’s fashionable with “due deference to the experience and understanding of prison and prison administrators in organising important guidelines and techniques to preserve accurate order, protection and field, consistent with attention of fees and limited resources.” Joint Statement S7775 (quoting S. Rep. No. 103–111, p. 10 (1993)).[Footnote 12]

       Finally, RLUIPA does no longer differentiate amongst bona fide faiths. In Kiryas Joel, we invalidated a country regulation that carved out a separate school district to serve exclusively a community of relatively religious Jews, the Satmar Hasidim. We held that the regulation violated the Establishment Clause, 512 U. S., at 690, in part because it “single[d] out a particular non secular sect for special treatment,” identification., at 706 (footnote omitted). RLUIPA affords no such illness. It confers no privileged status on any unique non secular sect, and singles out no bona fide religion for disadvantageous remedy.


       The Sixth Circuit misread our precedents to require invalidation of RLUIPA as “impermissibly advancing religion by means of giving extra safety to non secular rights than to different constitutionally blanketed rights.” 349 F. 3d, at 264. Our choice in Amos counsels otherwise. There, we upheld in opposition to an Establishment Clause challenge a provision exempting “non secular businesses from Title VII’s prohibition in opposition to discrimination in employment on the premise of religion.” 483 U. S., at 329. The District Court in Amos, reasoning in element that the exemption improperly “unmarried[d] out spiritual entities for a gain,” id., at 338, had “declared the statute unconstitutional as applied to secular interest,” identification., at 333. Religious lodges, we held, need not “come packaged with advantages to secular entities.” Id., at 338; see Madison, 355 F. 3d, at 318 (“There is no requirement that legislative protections for fundamental rights march in lockstep.”).

       Were the Court of Appeals’ view the right studying of our choices, all way of spiritual inns would fall. Congressional permission for contributors of the military to put on non secular apparel at the same time as in uniform could fail, see 10 U. S. C. §774, as would hotels Ohio itself makes. Ohio couldn't, as it now does, accommodate “traditionally diagnosed” religions, 221 F. Supp. 2nd, at 832: The State provides inmates with chaplains “but not with publicists or political consultants,” and lets in “prisoners to bring together for worship, however no longer for political rallies.” Reply Brief for United States 5.

       In upholding RLUIPA’s institutionalized-individuals provision, we emphasize that respondents “have raised a facial task to [the Act’s] constitutionality, and feature now not contended that beneath the facts of any of [petitioners’] unique instances … [that] applying RLUIPA would produce unconstitutional consequences.” 221 F. Supp. second, at 831. The District Court, noting the underdeveloped state of the report, concluded: A finding “that it is factually impossible to offer the kind of accommodations that RLUIPA would require without drastically compromising prison safety or the tiers of provider supplied to different inmates” can not be made at this juncture. Id., at 848 (emphasis added).[Footnote 13] We agree.

       “For greater than a decade, the federal Bureau of Prisons has managed the most important correctional gadget inside the Nation beneath the same heightened scrutiny widespread as RLUIPA with out compromising jail security, public safety, or the constitutional rights of other prisoners.” Brief for United States 24 (quotation left out). The Congress that enacted RLUIPA become aware of the Bureau’s revel in. See Joint Statement S7776 (letter from Department of Justice to Senator Hatch) (“[W]e do not trust [RLUIPA] might have an unreasonable effect on jail operations. RFRA has been in impact within the Federal jail gadget for six years and compliance with that statute has not been an unreasonable burden to the Federal jail system.”). We see no cause to assume that abusive prisoner litigation will overburden the operations of nation and nearby establishments. The procedures mandated by the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, we be aware, are designed to inhibit frivolous filings.[Footnote 14]

       Should inmate requests for religious motels emerge as immoderate, impose unjustified burdens on other institutionalized humans, or jeopardize the effective functioning of an institution, the ability could be free to face up to the imposition. In that event, adjudication in as-applied challenges might be so as.


       For the motives stated, the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings steady with this opinion.

    It is so ordered.

    Footnote 1

     Petitioners Cutter and Gerhardt are not within the custody of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Brief for Petitioners 2, n. 1. No party has recommended that this case has end up moot, nor has it: Without doubt, a stay controversy remains many of the still-incarcerated petitioners, the United States, and respondents. We do no longer attain the question whether the claims of Cutter and Gerhardt hold to present an real controversy. See Steffel v. Thompson, 415 U. S. 452, 459–460, and n. 10 (1974).

    Footnote 2

     RFRA, Courts of Appeals have held, stays operative as to the Federal Government and federal territories and possessions. See O’Bryan v. Bureau of Prisons, 349 F. 3d 399, four hundred–401 (CA7 2003); Guam v. Guerrero, 290 F. 3d 1210, 1220–1222 (CA9 2002); Kikumura v. Hurley, 242 F. 3d 950, 958–960 (CA10 2001); In re Young, 141 F. 3d 854, 858–863 (CA8 1998). This Court, but, has not had occasion to rule on the matter.

    Footnote three

     Section 2 of RLUIPA is not at trouble right here. We therefore specific no view on the validity of that part of the Act.

    Footnote four

     Every State, together with Ohio, accepts federal investment for its prisons. Brief for United States 28, n. 16 (citing FY 2003 Office of Justice Programs & Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Grants by way of State).

    Footnote five

     The hearings held by means of Congress revealed, for an average example, that “[a] country prison in Ohio refused to provide Moslems with Hallal food, even though it provided Kosher meals.” Hearing on Protecting Religious Freedom After Boerne v. Flores, before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Committee at the Judiciary, a hundred and fifth Cong., 2nd Sess., pt. 3, p. 11, n. 1 (1998) (hereinafter Protecting Religious Freedom) (prepared assertion of Marc D. Stern, Legal Director, American Jewish Congress). Across the country, Jewish inmates complained that prison officials refused to offer sack lunches, which might allow inmates to break their fasts after nightfall. Id., at 39 (assertion of Isaac M. Jaroslawicz, Director of Legal Affairs for the Aleph Institute). The “Michigan Department of Corrections … restrict[ed] the lights of Chanukah candles in any respect state prisons” despite the fact that “smoking” and “votive candles” had been authorized. Id., at 41 (equal). A priest liable for communications among Roman Catholic dioceses and corrections facilities in Oklahoma stated that there “changed into [a] nearly every year struggle over the Catholic use of Sacramental Wine … for the party of the Mass,” and that prisoners’ religious possessions, “such as the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud or objects needed by way of Native Americans[,] … had been regularly handled with contempt and have been confiscated, damaged or discarded” by means of jail officials. Id., pt. 2, at 58–fifty nine (organized statement of Donald W. Brooks, Reverend, Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma).

    Footnote 6

     Lemon stated a three-part test: “First, the statute should have an earthly legislative motive; 2nd, its principal or primary impact have to be one which neither advances nor inhibits religion; in the end, the statute need to no longer foster an excessive government entanglement with faith.” 403 U. S., at 612–613 (citations and internal citation marks overlooked). We resolve this situation on different grounds.

    Footnote 7

     Respondents argued under that RLUIPA exceeds Congress’ legislative powers below the Spending and Commerce Clauses and violates the Tenth Amendment. The District Court rejected respondents’ demanding situations beneath the Spending Clause, Gerhardt v. Lazaroff, 221 F. Supp. 2nd 827, 839–849 (SD Ohio 2002), and the Tenth Amendment, id., at 850–851, and declined to attain the Commerce Clause ques- tion, identity., at 838–839. The Sixth Circuit, having determined that RLUIPA violates the Establishment Clause, did now not rule on respondents’ in addition arguments. See 349 F. 3d 257, 259–260, 269 (2003). Respondents renew those arguments on this Court. They additionally increase their federalism-based totally or residual-powers contentions by affirming that, within the space between the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses, the States’ choices aren't challenge to congressional oversight. See Brief for Respondents nine, 25–33; cf. Madison v. Riter, 355 F. 3d 310, 322 (CA4 2003). Because those shielding pleas have been no longer addressed via the Court of Appeals, and mindful that we're a court docket of evaluation, now not of first view, we do no longer do not forget them here. See F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd v. Empagran S. A., 542 U. S. one hundred fifty five, 175 (2004); United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative, 532 U. S. 483, 494 (2001). But cf. post, at 1–2, n. 2 (Thomas, J., concurring).

    Footnote 8

     Directed at obstructions institutional arrangements area on non secular observances, RLUIPA does not require a State to pay for an inmate’s devotional accessories. See, e.g., Charles v. Verhagen, 348 F. 3d 601, 605 (CA7 2003) (overturning prohibition on possession of Islamic prayer oil but leaving inmate-plaintiff with obligation for purchasing the oil).

    Footnote 9

     See, e.g., ibid. (prison’s law prohibited Muslim prisoner from owning ritual cleaning oil); Young v. Lane, 922 F. second 370, 375–376 (CA7 1991) (jail’s law restricted wearing of yarmulkes); Hunafa v. Murphy, 907 F. 2nd 46, 47–48 (CA7 1990) (noting times wherein Jewish and Muslim prisoners had been served red meat, and not using a replacement available).

    Footnote 10

     Respondents argue, in step with the Sixth Circuit, that RLUIPA is going beyond permissible discount of impediments to unfastened workout. The Act, they challenge, advances religion through encouraging prisoners to “get faith,” and thereby advantage motels afforded under RLUIPA. Brief for Respondents 15–17; see 349 F. 3d, at 266 (“One impact of RLUIPA is to set off prisoners to adopt or feign spiritual notion on the way to acquire the statute’s advantages.”). While a few inns of religious observance, drastically the opportunity to collect in worship offerings, might attract joiners looking for a smash in their carefully guarded day, we doubt that all motels would be perceived as “blessings.” For example, congressional hearings on RLUIPA revealed that one nation corrections device served as its kosher weight-reduction plan “a fruit, a vegetable, a granola bar, and a liquid dietary supplement—each and each meal.” Protecting Religious Freedom, pt. three, at 38 (statement of Jaroslawicz).

    The argument, in any event, founders on the reality that Ohio already facilitates non secular offerings for mainstream faiths. The State presents chaplains, permits inmates to possess spiritual items, and lets in meeting for worship. See App. 199 (affidavit of David Schwarz, Religious Services Administrator for the South Region of the Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction (Oct. 19, 2000)) (process responsibilities consist of “facilitating the transport of non secular services in 14 correctional institutions of various security tiers all through … Ohio”); Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction, Table of Organization, available at http://www.drc.country.oh.us/net/DRCORG1.pdf (branch includes “Religious Services” division) (as visited May 27, 2005, and available in Clerk of Court’s case record); Brief for United States 20, and n. eight (citing, inter alia, Gawloski v. Dallman, 803 F. Supp. 103, 113 (SD Ohio 1992) (inmate in defensive custody allowed to wait a congregational religious provider, possess a Bible and different non secular materials, and acquire chaplain visits); Taylor v. Perini, 413 F. Supp. 189, 238 (ND Ohio 1976) (institutional chaplains had unfastened access to correctional location)).

    Footnote 11

     The Sixth Circuit posited that an irreligious prisoner and member of the Aryan Nation who demanding situations jail officials’ confiscation of his white supremacist literature as a contravention of his free affiliation and expression rights could have his claims evaluated under the deferential rational-courting trendy defined in Turner v. Safley, 482 U. S. 78 (1987). A member of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian challenging a similar withholding, the Sixth Circuit assumed, might have a stronger prospect of achievement because a court docket would evaluate his claim under RLUIPA’s compelling-hobby general. 349 F. 3d, at 266 (bringing up Madison v. Riter, 240 F. Supp. second 566, 576 (WD Va. 2003)). Courts, but, may be anticipated to apprehend the government’s countervailing compelling interest in now not facilitating inflammatory racist interest that could imperil prison security and order. Cf. Reimann v. Murphy, 897 F. Supp. 398, 402–403 (ED Wis. 1995) (concluding, under RFRA, that except racist literature advocating violence become the least restrictive way of furthering the compelling nation interest in stopping prison violence); George v. Sullivan, 896 F. Supp. 895, 898 (WD Wis. 1995) (identical).

    Footnote 12

     State jail officials make the first judgment approximately whether or not to offer a particular lodging, for a prisoner won't sue below RLUIPA with out first onerous all to be had administrative treatments. See 42 U. S. C. §2000cc–2(e) (not anything in RLUIPA “will be construed to amend or repeal the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995”); §1997e(a) (requiring exhaustion of administrative treatments).

    Footnote 13

     Respondents argue that jail gangs use non secular activity to cloak their illicit and regularly violent behavior. The immediately case was considered below on a movement to disregard. Thus, the events’ conflicting assertions on this count are not before us. It bears repetition, but, that jail protection is a compelling country hobby, and that deference is due to institutional officials’ expertise in this area. See supra, at 12–13. Further, jail officers might also appropriately question whether a prisoner’s religiosity, asserted as the premise for a asked accommodation, is real. Although RLUIPA bars inquiry into whether or not a particular perception or exercise is “important” to a prisoner’s religion, see forty two U. S. C. §2000cc–5(7)(A), the Act does no longer avoid inquiry into the sincerity of a prisoner’s professed religiosity. Cf. Gillette v. United States, 401 U. S. 437, 457 (1971) (“ ‘[T]he “truth” of a notion is not open to impeach’; instead, the query is whether or not the objector’s beliefs are ‘truly held.’ ” (quoting United States v. Seeger, 380 U. S. 163, 185 (1965))).

    Footnote 14

     See supra, at 13, n. 12.

    544 U. S. ____ (2005)
    NO. 03-9877


    on writ of certiorari to the us court of appeals for the 6th circuit

    [May 31, 2005]

       Justice Thomas, concurring.

       I be part of the opinion of the Court. I consider the Court that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) is constitutional under our contemporary Establishment Clause case law.[Footnote 1] I write to give an explanation for why a right historical knowledge of the Clause as a federalism provision leads to the same end.[Footnote 2]


       The Establishment Clause presents that “Congress shall make no regulation respecting an established order of faith.” Amdt. 1. As I even have explained, an important function of the Clause turned into to “ma[ke] clean that Congress couldn't intrude with kingdom institutions.” Elk Grove Unified School Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U. S. 1, 50 (2004) (opinion concurring in judgment). The Clause, then, “is best understood as a federalism provision” that “protects nation institutions from federal interference.” Ibid.; see additionally Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U. S. 639, 677–680 (2002) (Thomas, J., concurring); Lee v. Weisman, 505 U. S. 577, 641 (1992) (Scalia, J., dissenting). Ohio contends that this federalism understanding of the Clause prevents federal oversight of state picks in the “ ‘play within the joints’ ” between the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses. Locke v. Davey, 540 U. S. 712, 718–719 (2004). In other words, Ohio asserts that the Clause protects the States from federal interference with in any other case constitutionally permissible picks concerning spiritual policy. In Ohio’s view, RLUIPA intrudes on such kingdom coverage choices and as a result violates the Clause.

       Ohio’s vision of the range of protected nation authority overreads the Clause. Ohio and its amici contend that, despite the fact that “States can no longer set up preferred churches” due to the fact the Clause has been included in opposition to the States thru the Fourteenth Amendment,[Footnote 3] “Congress is as not able as ever to contravene constitutionally permissible State picks regarding religious policy.” Brief for Respondents 26 (emphasis added); Brief for Commonwealth of Virginia et al. as Amici Curiae 6–13. That isn't what the Clause says. The Clause prohibits Congress from enacting regulation “respecting an status quo of religion” (emphasis brought); it does no longer prohibit Congress from enacting legislation “respecting religion” or “taking focus of religion.” P. Hamburger, Separation of Church and State 106–107 (2002). At the founding, established order concerned “ ‘coercion of religious orthodoxy and of monetary guide by way of force of regulation and hazard of penalty,’ ” Newdow, supra, at 52 (Thomas, J., concurring in judgment) (quoting Lee, supra, at 640–641 (Scalia, J., dissenting, in flip citing L. Levy, The Establishment Clause four (1986))), inclusive of “ ‘governmental alternatives for unique spiritual faiths,’ ” 542 U. S., at fifty three (quoting Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of Univ. of Va., 515 U. S. 819, 856 (1995) (Thomas, J., concurring)). In different phrases, status quo on the founding concerned, as an example, mandatory observance or obligatory fee of taxes helping ministers. See 542 U. S., at 52 (Thomas, J., concurring in judgment); Lee, supra, at 640–641 (Scalia, J., dissenting); McConnell 2131; Levy, The Establishment Clause 10 (2nd ed. 1994). To proscribe Congress from making laws “respecting an established order of faith,” therefore, changed into to forbid regulation respecting coercive kingdom institutions, not to avert Congress from legislating on religion generally.

       History, at the least that presented with the aid of Ohio, does now not display that the Clause hermetically seals the Federal Government out of the field of faith. Ohio factors to, amongst other matters, the phrases of James Madison in protection of the Constitution on the Virginia Ratifying Convention: “There isn't always a shadow of proper within the preferred government to intermeddle with religion. Its least interference with it would be a maximum flagrant usurpation.” General Defense of the Constitution (June 12, 1788), reprinted in 11 Papers of James Madison 130 (R. Rutland, C. Hobson, W. Rachal, & J. Sisson eds. 1977). Ohio also relies on James Iredell’s announcement discussing the Religious Test Clause at the North Carolina Ratifying Convention:

    “[Congress] virtually [has] no authority to intrude inside the status quo of any faith in any way … . Is there any strength given to Congress in subjects of religion? Can they pass a unmarried act to impair our spiritual liberties? If they could, it might be a just cause of alarm … . If any future Congress have to bypass an act concerning the faith of the u . s ., it'd be an act which they are not legal to bypass, by the Constitution, and which the people might not obey.” Debate in North Carolina Ratifying Convention (June 30, 1788), in five Founders’ Constitution 90 (P. Kurland & R. Lerner eds. 1987).

       These quotations do no longer establish the Framers’ beliefs approximately the scope of the Establishment Clause. Instead, they demonstrate handiest that a number of the Framers may also have believed that the National Government had no authority to legislate regarding faith, because no enumerated electricity gave it that authority. Ohio’s Spending Clause and Commerce Clause challenges, therefore, may well have benefit. See n. 2, supra.

       In any occasion, Ohio has now not proven that the Establishment Clause codified Madison’s or Iredell’s view that the Federal Government couldn't legislate regarding faith. An unenacted version of the Clause, proposed inside the House of Representatives, demonstrates the opposite. It supplied that “Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of sense of right and wrong.” 1 Annals of Cong. 731 (1789); see also Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U. S. 38, ninety six–97 (1985) (Rehnquist, J., dissenting). The words in the long run followed, “Congress shall make no law respecting an established order of faith,” “identified a function from which [Madison] had as soon as sought to differentiate his very own,” Hamburger, supra, at 106. Whatever he thought of these words, “he simply did not mind language less extreme than that which he had [previously] used.” Ibid. The version of the Clause subsequently followed is narrower than Ohio claims.

       Nor does the opposite historical proof on which Ohio is predicated—Joseph Story’s Commentaries at the Constitution—show its idea. Leaving apart the problems with relying on this source as an indicator of the unique know-how, see U. S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U. S. 779, 856 (1995) (Thomas, J., dissenting), it's far unpersuasive in its very own right. Justice Story did say that “the entire energy over the problem of faith is left solely to the nation governments, to be acted upon in step with their own feel of justice, and the kingdom constitutions.” Commentaries on the Constitution of the USA 702–703 (1833) (reprinted 1987). In context, however, his announcement worried only Congress’ inability to legislate with recognize to religious status quo. See identification., at 701 (“The actual object of the amendment was … to prevent any national ecclesiastical established order, which need to deliver to an hierarchy the different patronage of the national authorities”); identification., at 702 (“[I]t became deemed really useful to exclude from the country wide authorities all strength to act upon the subject … . It became impossible, that there have to not rise up perpetual strife and perpetual jealousy with regards to ecclesiastical ascendancy, if the country wide government were left unfastened to create a religious status quo”).

       In quick, the view that the Establishment Clause precludes Congress from legislating respecting religion lacks ancient provenance, at the least based totally at the records of which I am conscious. Even while enacting legal guidelines that bind the States pursuant to valid sporting activities of its enumerated powers, Congress need now not observe strict separation among church and state, or steer clear of the difficulty of faith. It want most effective refrain from making legal guidelines “respecting an status quo of faith”; it must now not intrude with a state established order of faith. For example, Congress presumably could not require a State to set up a religion any more than it can avert a State from setting up a religion.


       On its face—the relevant inquiry, as that is a facial project—RLUIPA isn't always a regulation “respecting an status quo of faith.” RLUIPA provides, as relevant: “No authorities shall impose a sizeable burden at the spiritual workout of someone living in or confined to an organization, … despite the fact that the weight consequences from a rule of general applicability, until the government demonstrates that imposition of the load on that individual,” first, “similarly[s] a compelling governmental hobby,” and 2d, “is the least restrictive method of furthering that compelling governmental hobby.” forty two U. S. C. §§2000cc–1(a)(1)–(2). This provision does no longer limit or intervene with state establishments, in view that no State has established (or constitutionally ought to set up, given an included Clause) a religion. Nor does the provision require a State to set up a faith: It does not pressure a State to coerce non secular observance or price of taxes supporting clergy, or require a State to choose one non secular sect over some other. It is a regulation respecting religion, but no longer one respecting an status quo of religion.

       In addition, RLUIPA’s textual content applies to all legal guidelines exceeded through state and neighborhood governments, inclusive of “rule[s] of fashionable applicability,” ibid., whether or not or not they challenge an status quo of faith. State and nearby governments glaringly have many laws that don't have anything to do with faith, not to mention establishments thereof. Numerous applications of RLUIPA consequently do no longer contravene the Establishment Clause, and a facial project based on the Clause must fail. See United States v. Booker, 543 U. S. __, __ (2005) (slip op., at 2) (Thomas, J., concurring in component and dissenting in element); United States v. Salerno, 481 U. S. 739, 745 (1987).

       It additionally bears noting that Congress, pursuant to its Spending Clause authority, conditioned the States’ receipt of federal budget on their compliance with RLUIPA. §2000cc–1(b)(1) (“This section applies anyhow in which … the huge burden is imposed in a application or hobby that receives Federal financial help”). As cited above, n. 2, supra, RLUIPA might also well exceed the spending power. Nonetheless, while Congress’ circumstance stands, the States situation themselves to that circumstance via voluntarily accepting federal budget. The States’ voluntary acceptance of Congress’ situation undercuts Ohio’s argument that Congress is encroaching on its turf.

    Footnote 1

     The Court nicely declines to evaluate RLUIPA beneath the discredited take a look at of Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U. S. 602 (1971), which the Court of Appeals implemented beneath, 349 F. 3d 257, 262–268 (CA6 2003). Lemon held that, to keep away from invalidation beneath the Establishment Clause, a statute “ought to have a secular legislative cause,” “its primary or number one impact should be one which neither advances nor inhibits religion,” and it “have to no longer foster an immoderate government entanglement with faith.” 403 U. S., at 612–613 (internal quotation marks and quotation overlooked). Under the first and 2d prongs, RLUIPA—and, certainly, any accommodation of religion—may well violate the Clause. Even laws disestablishing faith might violate the Clause. Disestablishment might easily have a non secular motive and thereby flunk the first prong, or it would properly “make stronger and revitalize” religion and so fail the second. McConnell, Establishment and Disestablishment at the Founding, Part I: Establishment of Religion, forty four Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 2105, 2206–2207 (2003) (hereinafter McConnell).

    Footnote 2

     The Court dismisses the events’ arguments approximately the federalism thing of the Clause with the quick statement that the Court of Appeals did no longer cope with the problem. Ante, at 7–eight, n. 7. The parties’ contentions in this point, however, are pretty included inside the question supplied, which asks “[w]hether Congress violated the Establishment Clause by enacting [RLUIPA].” Pet. for Cert. i. Further, each events have briefed the federalism understanding of the Clause, Brief for Respondents 25–33; Reply Brief for Petitioners 12–sixteen, and neither shows that a remand on it'd be beneficial or that the document in this Court lacks applicable records, Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 533 U. S. ninety eight, 119, n. nine (2001).

       Also, though RLUIPA is totally consonant with the Establishment Clause, it may nicely exceed Congress’ authority below both the Spending Clause or the Commerce Clause. See Sabri v. United States, 541 U. S. 600, 613 (2004) (Thomas, J., concurring in judgment) (for a spending clause situation on a State’s receipt of price range to be “Necessary and Proper” to the expenditure of the funds, there need to be “a few obvious, easy, and direct relation” between the situation and the expenditure of the budget); United States v. Lopez, 514 U. S. 549, 587 (1995) (Thomas, J., concurring) (“The Constitution no longer only makes use of the word ‘commerce’ in a narrower feel than our case law may suggest, it also does not help the proposition that Congress has authority over all sports that ‘appreciably affect’ interstate commerce”). The Court, but, properly declines to attain those issues, due to the fact that they're out of doors the query presented and had been not addressed through the Court of Appeals.

    Footnote 3

     Ohio claims the gain of the federalism element of the Clause, yet simultaneously adheres to the view that the Establishment Clause become integrated towards the States thru the Fourteenth Amendment. Brief for Respondents 25–26. These positions may be incompatible. The text and records of the Clause may properly aid the view that the Clause isn't incorporated against the States precisely because the Clause shielded state institutions from congressional interference. Elk Grove Unified School Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U. S. 1, 50–51 (Thomas, J., concurring in judgment). I word, but, that a kingdom regulation that would violate the integrated Establishment Clause may additionally violate the Free Exercise Clause. Id., at 53, n. 4, fifty four, n. 5.

    Oral Argument - March 21, 2005
    Opinion Announcement - May 31, 2005
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