Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Comanche Nation v. United States case brief summary

Comanche Nation v. United States (Medicine Bluffs) 
  • Medicine Bluffs located near Fort Sill is sacred primarily to Comanche tribe
  • Religious practice requires an unobstructed view of the peaks, where the new facility is proposed to be placed
  • 9th Circuit – would have said there was no burden
  • W.D. Okla. – determined that a burden did exist; a burden exists when the government makes it difficult or impossible to practice the religion – considers practical effect of government action (pre-Lyng view of what a substantial burden is)
  • Substantial burden under RFRA not to be interpreted the same as substantial burden under Lyng
  • After finding that a substantial burden exists, must consider (1) whether government has a compelling interest (yes, national security) and (2) whether narrowly tailored means/least restrictive means were used (no, didn’t consider tribal religious implications and there were other potential locations that may have been appropriate, less expensive, less burdensome)

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