• Jerold Waltman Baylor University, USA


Since 1990 the debate over the limits of free exercise of religion has touched the courts, the Congress, and the executive branch. A wide range of issues has emerged: property use, prisoner rights, religious speech and association in schools, church’s autonomy in hiring employees, and the Obama administration’s policies toward health insurance requirements for religious institutions and businesses. The purpose of this paper is to assess the current state of free exercise jurisprudence through a survey of the major developments in these fields. It seems that when free exercise issues affect individuals or religious institutions alone, a wide scope is allowed for religious liberty. However, when other political interests come into play—such as gay and lesbian groups or groups representing women—the record is far more mixed

Author Biography

Jerold Waltman, Baylor University, USA

Jerold Waltman is the R.W. Morrison Professor of Political Science at Baylor University. His most recent book is Congress, the Supreme Court, and Religious Liberty: The Case of City of Boerne v. Flores (Palgrave, 2013). He also serves as editor of the Journal of Church and State. 

Keywords: Free exercise of religion, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, prisoner rights, freedom of speech, church autonomy, reproductive freedom


Black Aaron, When Money is Tight, Is Strict Scrutiny Loose? Cost Sensitivity as a Compelling Governmental Interest Under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, Texas Journal of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, Vol. 14, No. 2, Austin, Texas, 2009.
Corbin Caroline, Above the Law? The Constitutionality of the Ministerial Exception from Antidiscrimination Law, Fordham Law Review, Vol. 75, No. 2, New York, New York, 2007.
Englander Andrew, God and Land in the Garden State: The Impact of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act in New Jersey, Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 2, Newark, New Jersey, 2009Gaubatz Derek, RLUIPA at Four: Evaluating the Success and Constitutionality of RLUIPA’s Prisoner Provisions, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 28, No. 2, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2005.
Goodrich Luke, The Health Care and Conscience Debate, Engage, June 27, 2011, Washington, D.C.
Larson Jennifer, RLUIPA: Distress and Damages, University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 74, No. 4, Chicago, Illinois, 2007.
Lund Christopher, In Defense of the Ministerial Exception, North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 90, No. 1, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2011.
Rassbach Eric, The Affordable Care Act Employer Mandate Case: Regulation versus Conscience on its Way to the Supreme Court, Oxford Journal of Law and
Religion, Vol. 2, No. 1, Oxford, UK, 2013.
Salkin Patricia and Lavine Amy, The Genesis of RLUIPA and Federalism: Evaluating the Creation of a Federal Statutory Right and Its Impact on Local
Government, The Urban Lawyer, Vol. 40, No. 2, Kansas City, Missouri, 2008.
Stout Taylor, The Costs of Religious Accommodations in Prisons, Virginia Law Review, Vol. 96, No. 3, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2010.
Symposium Issue: Hastings Constitutional law Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 2, Spring 2011.
Unsigned Note, Religious Land Use in the Federal Courts Under RLUIPA, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 120, No. 3, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2007.
United States Department of Justice, Report on the Tenth Anniversary of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, September 22, 2010.
Waltman Jerold, Congress, the Supreme Court, and Religious Liberty: The Case of City of Boerne v. Flores, Palgrave, New York, 2013.
______. Religious Free Exercise and Contemporary American Politics: The Saga of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, Continuum, New York, 2011.