Daniel Mazzella

Document Type




This Note argues that the interpretations given to the “equal terms” provision thus far are incorrect, and that a better approach is to compare secular and religious assemblies and institutions on the basis of their purposes. Part One of this Note provides the background to RLUIPA from Sherbert to the Act’s enactment. In Part Two, Midrash, Lighthouse, and River of Life are presented in chronological order and each circuit’s test is analyzed. In Part Three, the provision’s plain text and its placement in the larger statutory scheme are analyzed in accordance with standard canons of construction. The current circuit approaches are then critiqued. Finally, a solution to the current circuit split based on the proposed test of the Seventh Circuit’s dissenter is presented, which provides the best balance between effecting Congress’ intent and preserving the statute’s constitutionality.



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