Friday, August 07, 2015

Do State RFRAs Apply To Eminent Domain Proceedings?

The Daily Signal this week reports on a lawsuit in Houston, Texas making innovative use of the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act to challenge an eminent domain proceeding.  The Houston Housing Authority is seeking to take two empty parcels of land belonging to the Latter Day Deliverance Revival Center as part of an urban renewal project.  The church says it acquired the parcels as part of a future expansion plan for the church, and that it uses the land for ministry activities. The church filed suit arguing that the Housing Authority must meet the compelling interest/ least restrictive means tests of RFRA before it may take the property which the church refuses to sell. Applying RFRA standards would make its acquisition extremely difficult.