Saturday, October 07, 2017

Attorney General Issues Guidance On Protection of Religious Liberty

Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a 25-page Memorandum (full text) setting out the Justice Department's understanding of the scope of religious liberty protections. In a covering document, Sessions directed that the interpretive guidance in the Memorandum immediately be incorporated by the Department and U.S. Attorneys in all litigation, interpretative guidance and grant administration.  Among other things, the Memorandum provides:
RFRA applies even where a religious adherent seeks an exemption from a legal obligation requiring the adherent to confer benefits on third parties.
Sessions' Memorandum specifically endorses the Clinton Administration's 1997 Guidelines on Religious Exercise and Religious Expression in the Federal Workplace , saying:
The Clinton Guidelines have the force of an Executive Order, and they also provide useful guidance to private employers about ways in which religious observance and practice can reasonably be accommodated in the workplace.
AP reports on the Attorney General's Memorandum.saying that it "undercuts federal protections for LGBT people."