PLS 315-01

Smith, cont’d

  • NA peyote use results in termination
    • unemployment benefits denied
      • similar to Sherbert, diff. is Saturday work
    • criminal drug law also implicated
  • Sherbert test:
    1. yes, law is of general application
    2. yes, law burdens freex
    3. yes, narcotic regulation is compelling state interest
    4. Majority: yes, law is least restrictive means
      Dissent: no, law is not least restrictive means 

      • other drugs exempted
      • lax enforcement of peyote
  • exception not mandated by 1st am but can be legislated
  • end result: “Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993”

Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita (2007)

  • use of hallucingenic tea “hoasca”
  • importation banned by controlled substances act
  • very minimal membership, < 150 in USA
  • court unexpectedly applies RFRA, Sherbert test after rejecting in Smith
    • controls federal law, no effect on state
  • peyote exception already exists


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