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James M. Donovan

1996

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Restoring Free Exercise Protections By Limiting Them: Preventing A Repeat Of Smith, James M. Donovan Sep 1996

Restoring Free Exercise Protections By Limiting Them: Preventing A Repeat Of Smith, James M. Donovan

James M. Donovan

Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith effectively removed all protections traditionally accorded the free exercise of religion. RFRA was designed to undo the effects of this decision by presumably setting back the clock of jurisprudence to the day before Smith. Even if RFRA is found to be constitutional, it will still, of itself, be ultimately ineffective since it undoes the effects of Smith without addressing the confluence of issues which made a decision like Smith likely. The clock may be set back, but without significant changes it can be expected to run forward again in much …