Family Relations

In the identify of religious legal rights for prisoners

Right now oral argument will be read by the Supreme Court docket in Holt v. Hobbs, a situation in which a Muslim prisoner is searching for to develop a ½ inch beard in compliance with his spiritual faith. The prison coverage at issue really permits ½ inch beards, but only for medical factors. For this marginalization of his faith, Mr. Holt has sued beneath the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Individuals Act (RLUIPA), and is asking the Court docket to use stringent scrutiny (the identical large common of protection for religious rights essential by RFRA and affirmed by the Supreme Court docket in Pastime Lobby) and safeguard his spiritual rights in the encounter of a discriminatory prison policy.

Numerous see the significance of protecting religious legal rights for prisoners, which includes individuals who have individually benefitted and occur to faith by way of access to spiritual plans in jail. My law university colleague Jesse Wiese, now advocating for prisoners at the Justice Fellowship, is one particular of these he has written about his experiences in support of Mr. Holt’s spiritual assert in this case. A get for Mr. Holt beneath RLUIPA in this situation will protect all prisoners, irrespective of religion. Alongside with guarding a Muslim prisoner who wants to develop a beard to a reasonable length (in maintaining with the prison’s need to keep order and self-control), the application of rigid scrutiny here will strengthen the law’s protections for Jewish prisoners in search of costume or grooming lodging, or people looking for access to Bible reports in jail. As it is mentioned, a get for spiritual freedom for one is a acquire for spiritual flexibility for all.

Moreover, a win for Mr. Holt listed here will reinforce protections for spiritual physical exercise in public areas in the United States, one thing that teams like the Flexibility From Faith Foundation just can’t stand. Faith often has occupied a exclusive role in the community life of our place. We can assume the Supreme Court docket to again affirm that principle with a ruling for Mr. Holt in this case.


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