Posted by: Patricia Salkin | October 5, 2008

Hear Leading Judges, Academics and Practitioners Discuss Religion and Land Use

This past week, the students at the Albany Government Law Review hosted a fantastic 3-day symposium focusing on religion and land use.  The program brought together leading judges, academics and practitioners, many of whom focused on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.  The conference program was well balanced in terms of points of view.  Below is the conference agenda along with links to the podcasts for each of the presentations so that readers of this blog may hear what was discussed.  In addition, the students have launched their own blog, the AGLR Fireplace where they blogged live from the symposium.  To read their summaries, visit:  



Randall T. Shepard, Chief Justice, Indiana Supreme Court:
Defining Community in a Society Focused on Rights


audio only –




Hon. Michael McConnell, University of Utah, S.J. Quinney School of Law; 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals:
Introduction to Religion and Land Use: Free Exercise, Establishment Clause and Equal Protection Jurisprudence
Judge McConnell will present an overview of the judicial interpretation of the constitutional religion clauses-the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause; explore the Supreme Court’s historical treatment of these protections; and explain why and how and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act came to be.


mcconnell audio only –




To provide a context for the development of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, panelists will discuss how property ownership patterns have affected the availability of land for religious uses, how religious discrimination has manifested itself in land use, and how the use of Native American sacred lands has been regulated.

Patricia Salkin, Albany Law School

Angela C. Carmella, Seton Hall University School of Law:
Why RLUIPA is Necessary: Connecting Religion to Land Use, Property Ownership, and the Common Good

Robert J. Miller, Lewis & Clark Law School:
Native American Sacred Sites

Steve Rosenbaum, United States Department of Justice:
The Role of the Department of Justice in the Protection of Religious Freedom



page –

panel 1 audio –




RLUIPA provides that any land use provision that substantially burdens religion must be narrowly tailored to support a compelling interest. This panel will discuss if and how this provision applies to building codes, aesthetic regulations and the exercise of eminent domain. The panel will also discuss RLUIPA’s “Safe Harbor” provision.

Amy Lavine, Albany Law School

Shelley Ross Saxer, Pepperdine University School of Law:
RLUIPA as Applied to Building Codes and Aesthetic Regulations

Nelson Tebbe, Brooklyn Law School:
Condemning Religion: The Political Economy of RLUIPA

Daniel Dalton Defining “Appropriate Relief” Under Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act: The Availability of Damages and Injunctive Relief with RLUIPA


panel 2 audio –




Panelists will provide an in-depth analysis of the constitutional principles in play, in conflict, and indifferent when a RLUIPA claim is advanced.

Paul Finkelman, Albany Law School

Wendie L. Kellington, Law Offices of Wendie L. Kellington, P.C.:
RLUIPA and the Dots that Connect Religious Land Uses to the Maintenance of a Constitutional Democracy

Elizabeth A. Reilly, University of Akron School of Law:
Empathy and Pragmatism in the Choice of Constitutional Norm for Religious Land Use Disputes

Leslie Griffin, University of Houston Law Center:
RLUIPA and the Play in the Joints Between the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses

Frederick Mark Gedicks, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University:


panel 3 audio –








Marci A. Hamilton, Cardozo School of Law:
RLUIPA as an Establishment of Religion and Impermissible Accommodation

Prof. Hamilton will speak about why RLUIPA is an unconstitutional establishment of religion. She is a well-known constitutional law expert and has written and lectured about RLUIPA and religious freedom extensively.



page –

hamilton audio 0





A practitioners’ roundtable will navigate questions raised by RLUIPA litigation, as well as issues that RLUIPA jurisprudence has yet to reach.

Patricia Salkin & Amy Lavine, Albany Law School

Dwight H. Merriam, FAICP, CRE, Robinson & Cole LLP

Julie A. Tappendorf, Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni & Krafthefer, P.C.

Daniel P. Dalton, Tomkiw Dalton, PLC

Steve Rosenbaum, United States Department of Justice:
The Role of the Department of Justice in the Protection of Religious Freedom



panel audio –




  1. This is a useful and commendable collection of talks and discussions about RLUIPA.

    What is astonishing is the overwhelming quantity of judicial, legislative and legal resources that have been devoted to this single, ill-considered piece of agenda-driven legislation.

    Every institution in our society bends over backwards to give special consideration to and accomodate the demands of religious organizations. Still, they are not satisfied, demanding more and greater special privilege for their world of make believe.

    RLUIPA deserves to be repealed or found unconstitutional, like its progenitor, RFRA.

  2. The part of this legislation that makes particular sense to me is that if you can assemble in a zone for other reasons, you must allow assembly for religious reasons.

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