Monday, June 04, 2018

FACEA's Protection of Churches Does Not Violate Commerce Clause

In Zhang v. Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance, (ED NY, May 30, 2018), a New York federal district court held that Congress did not exceed its commerce clause powers in passing the portion of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act that protects against interference with access to places of religious worship. the court said in part:
Religion, even when non-profit, is deeply rooted in interstate commerce. It comprises a sizable portion of the United States economy. Houses of religious worship offer numerous valuable services to their congregates, support a large number of personnel, take in and expend considerable funds, own large tracts of land, and receive free municipal services, such as schooling assistance, roads, and police protection. Huge religious educational institutions operating over the internet draw students and billions of dollars in revenue from all over the country. Religion substantially contributes to our gross national product. Congress could reasonably have concluded that violence and intimidation to keep people out of houses of worship would substantially adversely affect interstate commerce. FACEA is constitutional in its design to protect that national commerce.
Courthouse News Service reports on the decision.