The first decades of the twenty-first century have witnessed an increase in the use of religious liberty as a warrant justifying conservative positions on social issues. The general outline of the recent history of the Free Exercise Clause is quite familiar to analysts of religious politics in the United States. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith,1 in which the Court took a restrictive position on the extent and scope of the Free Exercise Clause, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). RFRA sought to restore the earlier Sherbert-Yoder standard, which had been much more deferential to legal exemptions based on religious liberty. Although the Court was not willing to apply the federal RFRA to the...

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