Forthcoming Program "Free Exercise, Historic Religious Properties and Sacred Sites", Washington DC, Sept. 18, 2008

For those in Washington DC, there’s an interesting forthcoming program on the protection of sacred sites in America:
The Lawyers Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, in conjunction with the American University Washington College of Law Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, the Program on Law and Government, and the National Park Service, will hold its first program of the year on “Free Exercise, Historic Religious Properties and Sacred Sites: The Effect of RFRA and RLUIPA”.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
American University Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 6th Floor 

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) created a cause of action for persons whose exercise of religion is substantially burdened by a government action, regardless of whether the burden results from a neutral law of general applicability.  In 1997, the Supreme Court invalidated RFRA as applied to the States, in a case involving a town’s denial of a permit to demolish a historic sanctuary building (the law still remains operative as to the Federal Government and to the District of Columbia). The response of Congress to that decision was its  enactment of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA).  RLUIPA reinstated the general rule of RFRA — that government action which substantially burdens religious exercise can be justified only if it is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest — but this time, the law only would apply to  Local, State or Federal action involving land use or institutionalized persons. How have the courts applied RFRA to Federal actions involving historic religious properties or sacred sites, and what effect might RLUIPA have on otherwise valid and neutral historic preservation laws?  Drawing on recent case law and current litigation, the speakers will address these questions.
Speakers will include: 
•       Julia Miller, an attorney with the National Trust for Historic Preservation
•       Tersh Boasberg, an attorney specializing in historic preservation, chairman of the DC      Zoning Commission, and chair of the Historic Preservation Review Board.
•       Louis Cohen, partner, WilmerHale
General Registration:   no charge, but we need you to pre-register 
CLE Accreditation (2 credits) will be applied for – CLE Registration –  $35
For more information and to register, please contact:
Office of Special Events & Continuing Legal Education, American University Washington College of Law
Tel: 202-274-4075

You can also visit the LCCHP web site at

Questions or Comments? Email me at

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