Press Release

Orrin G. Hatch Foundation to host 30th anniversary event for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Becket to highlight RFRA’s legacy and enduring significance for America

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

WASHINGTON – The Orrin G. Hatch Foundation will host a virtual event on November 16 to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Religious liberty experts including Becket vice president and senior counsel Eric Baxter will reflect on RFRA’s bipartisan beginnings, its success, and lasting importance in protecting our religious liberty. (RSVP Here.) 

RFRA was passed in 1993 after the Supreme Court cut back long-standing protections for religious Americans in a case called Employment Division v. Smith. The Court upheld a decision by Oregon officials to deny unemployment benefits to Native Americans who were fired for using peyote in their religious ceremonies. A diverse coalition of elected officials, scholars, and advocacy groups soon united to restore broader protections for religious freedom, especially for minority faiths. The result was RFRA, which was supported by 66 religious and civil liberties groups, including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Humanists, and secular civil liberties organizations. 

For 30 years RFRA has been a bedrock protection for people of all faiths to freely live out their beliefs. It is a balancing test: if the government attempts to restrict religious practices, it must show that restricting those practices is the only possible way to accomplish a “compelling” government interest. RFRA has protected Becket clients like Lipan Apache Pastor Robert Soto, who can now freely use eagle feathers in religious ceremonies, Army Major Simratpal Singh, who can practice his Sikh faith while serving his country, and the Little Sisters of the Poor, who can continue serving the elderly poor without violating their religious beliefs.   

RFRA 30th anniversary Webinar hosted by the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation

Eric Baxter, vice president & senior counsel at Becket
Senator James Lankford (R-OK)
Christopher Bates, Deputy Solicitor General, Utah Attorney General’s Office
Jennie Bradley Lichter, Deputy General Counsel, The Catholic University of America
Matt Sandgren, Executive Director, Orrin G. Hatch Foundation

Thursday, November 16, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. ET

Zoom Webinar registration: 

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Ryan Colby atmedia@becketlaw.orgor 202-349-7219.