April 18, 2005

Cert grant in the hallucinogenic tea case.

Here's the news report. I'm too busy at the moment to say anything more but here's my earlier post on the case.
The U.S. is seeking Supreme Court review of a Tenth Circuit case that relied on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to bar the federal government from enforcing drug laws against Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal. The drug in question is "hoasca tea," a hallucinogenic.
"Compliance with the injunction would force the United States to go into violation of an international treaty designed to prevent drug trafficking worldwide, which could have both short- and long-term foreign relations costs and could impair the policing of transnational drug trafficking involving the most dangerous controlled substances," acting Solicitor General Paul Clement wrote in a court filing.

Here's Prof. Marci Hamilton's excellent analysis of the legal issues in the case, including why there is no claim under the constitutional Free Exercise clause and how the Court of Appeals could rely on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act after City of Boerne v. Flores (which held that Congress's Fourteenth Amendment power did not support the act). Hamilton, you should note, is a strong advocate for the government's side of the argument.


leeontheroad said...

Is that te same Marci Hamilton quoted here?

Ann Althouse said...


leeontheroad said...

So Hamilton knows Boerne v. Flores pretty well, and doesn't like RFRA to begin with, for the reasons she states.

The bases of the rather many and various opinions in Boerne makes for an interesting read, in light of the Court granting cert.

Joe said...

Judge McConnell's opinion, discussed in the SCOTUSBlog, was interesting too.

The case is somewhat different from Boerne, of course, since the feds are involved, and the feds (as McConnell notes) allow peyote use.

Discrimination among hallucogen using religious groups is an interesting problem, though the feds argue they have a way around it. The betting man would say the UDV is due to lose though.

Joe said...

Oh, and when Prof. Hamilton says "The untenable alternative would be to apply the law regulating conduct to everyone except those who are religiously motivated. But conduct is conduct, and harm is harm" it is also interesting to know that this was just what the federal courts did for years before Boerne.

And certain state courts still do. I don't really appreciate Hamilton's hyperbole here.