entirely on the content on MMHT’s religious belief, rather than on MMHT’s proposed land use activity. (See Ex. L). Defendant’s content-based decision runs afoul of the First Amendment. Lukumi, 508 U.S. at 532. 136.
In the Free Exercise cases Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872, 881, 882,
884 (1990), and Lukumi, 508 U.S. at 537, the Supreme Court has held that strict scrutiny applies where religion is directly regulated. However, neutral laws of general applicability over religious activities do not require strict scrutiny except: (1) where the government is allowed to make individualized assessments or (2) where a “hybrid situation” exists: the free exercise claim is connected with other constitutional protections, such as free speech. 137.
Lake County’s arbitrary refusal to consider Maum Meditation a religion under the
UDO directly regulates religion. Therefore, Lake County’s action is not neutral or generally applicable and thus strict scrutiny applies. 138.
Even if one could find that Lake County’s actions were neutral or generally
applicable, which they are not, where Lake County officials are given the authority to determine whether Plaintiff’s beliefs constitute a religion or not without any standards, strict scrutiny applies because Lake County is allowed to make individual assessments. Further, because Plaintiff’s free exercise claim in connected with its constitutional right to free speech and association, this case presents a “hybrid rights” situation and strict scrutiny thus applies. 139.
Strict scrutiny requires the government action to be “justified by a compelling
governmental interest and must be narrowly tailored to advance that interest.” Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520, 531-32 (1993).
Published on Jun 17, 2013
Federal Court Order Allows Maum Meditation Center In Lake Forest Mansion (Lake Forest, IL – June, 2013) Fourteen days after Maum Meditation...