Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993
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Time Period
11/16/1993
Description
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (also known as RFRA) was enacted by Congress in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Employment Division v. Smith (1990) and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. RFRA mandated that judges employ the compelling state interest test in ruling on claims involving alleged violations of rights to the free exercise of religion at both the state and federal levels. Use of the compelling state interest test, originally articulated in the Supreme Court's Sherbert v. Verner (1963), to evaluate these claims appeared to be greatly constrained by the court's opinion in Smith. RFRA was only in effect at the state court level until 1997 (see the entry for City of Boerne v. Flores [1997]), but remains applicable to cases in federal courts as of 2013.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Prominent Religious Events and People in American History
Photographs

President Bill Clinton signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act- National Archives and Records Administration

Religious Freedom Restoration Act, first page- US Government Printing Office

US Capitol building- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-highsm-12649
Source(s)
Flowers, Ronald, 2005. That Godless Court? Supreme Court Decisions on Church-State Relationships, 2nd ed.. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.
Web Page Contributor
Robert Martin
Affliated with: Assistant Professor, Southeastern Lousiana University

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