Legal Scholars Explain Arizona SB1062

SB1062 would amend the Arizona RFRA to address two ambiguities that have been the subject of litigation under other RFRAs. It would provide that people are covered when state or local government requires them to violate their religion in the conduct of their business, and it would provide that people are covered when sued by a private citizen invoking state or local law to demand that they violate their religion.

But nothing in the amendment would say who wins in either of these cases. The person invoking RFRA would still have to prove that he had a sincere religious belief and that state or local government was imposing a substantial burden on his exercise of that religious belief. And the government, or the person on the other side of the lawsuit, could still show that compliance with the law was necessary to serve a compelling government interest. As a business gets bigger and more impersonal, courts will become more skeptical about claims of substantial burden on the owner’s exercise of religion. And as a business gets bigger, the government’s claim of compelling interest will become stronger.

Prof. Mary Ann Glendon
Harvard Law School

Prof. Michael W. McConnell
Stanford Law School

Professor Thomas C. Berg
University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)

Prof. Richard W. Garnett
Notre Dame Law School

Prof. Mark S. Scarberry
Pepperdine University School of Law

Robin Fretwell Wilson
University of Illinois College of Law

Prof. Douglas Laycock
University of Virginia School of Law

Prof. Helen M. Alvaré
George Mason University School of Law

Prof. Carl H. Esbeck
University of Missouri School of Law

Prof. Christopher C. Lund
Wayne State University Law School

Prof. Gregory C. Sisk
University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)

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