Supreme Court Upholds Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act

May 31, 2005

Source: The Associated Press

On May 31, 2005 The Associated Press reported, "the Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of a federal law requiring state prisons to accommodate inmate religions. Justices unanimously sided with Ohio inmates, including a witch and a Satanist, who had claimed they were denied access to religious literature, ceremonial items and time to worship. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, which was intended to protect the rights of prisoners, is not an unconstitutional government promotion of religion... The law requires states that receive federal money to accommodate prisoners' religious beliefs unless wardens can show that the accommodation would be disruptive. Opponents of the law had argued that inmate requests for particular diets, special haircuts or religious symbols could make it harder to manage prisons."