Protecting land use rights for all religious traditions.
Unless you are on a plane or a boat, religious exercise involves some kind of land use. Unfortunately, far too many cities and towns are ignoring this fact when applying their zoning laws–and religious expression suffers. Recognizing these threats to religious liberty, the United States Congress, with nearly unanimous bi-partisan support, passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, or RLUIPA, as a counterweight to the discretionary power of local zoning officials. Becket is the premier litigator of RLUIPA, defending houses of worship nationwide against burdensome and discriminatory land use policies.
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Property Rights Cases
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Spirit of Aloha Temple v. County of Maui
A Hindu organization called Spirit of Aloha Temple purchased land in Maui County, Hawaii, in 2007 for religious use. Years later, the Temple wished to expand its ministry by celebrating weddings on its property, which was previously designated for agriculture. ...
Rocky Mountain Christian Church v. Boulder County
Civil Liberties for Urban Believers v. City of Chicago
Gagliardi v. The City of Boca Raton, Fla.
Since 2007, the Chabad of East Boca Raton has been forced to defend its right to build a new synagogue against a hostile and well-funded opposition. In 2015, after years of thorough planning, and while enduring anti-Semitic threats and attacks, the ...
FFRF v. Morris County Board of Freeholders
Historic buildings are an important part of our national heritage. The State of New Jersey has long funded historic preservation for buildings, including churches, that are listed on the state and national historic registries. In 2002, Morris County, New Jersey ...
Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania
Rose Mary Knick sued her local government in 2014 for seizing her private property without compensation, but a Pennsylvania district court dismissed her case. Ms. Knick tried again, but in 2017, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower ...
Gaylor v. Mnuchin
For over 60 years, federal law has allowed churches, mosques, and synagogues to give their ministers a “housing allowance” that is exempt from federal income tax. This helps religious leaders live in the communities they serve, and it keeps the ...
Islamic Center of Murfreesboro v. Rutherford County
It was supposed to be like any other house of worship. In 2010, a Muslim community in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, began building a mosque and community center to accommodate its growing congregation. Little did they know, their innocuous plans would incite ...