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City of Boerne v. Flores

Significance, Court Limits Scope Of Congressional Power, Impact, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Further Readings


City of Boerne, Texas


Father P. F. Flores, Archbishop of San Antonio, and the United States

Petitioner's Claim

That the Religious Freedom Restoration Act exceeded Congress' constitutional powers under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Marci A. Hamilton

Chief Lawyers for Respondent

Douglas Laycock and Walter Dellinger

Justices for the Court

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony M. Kennedy (writing for the Court), William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, John Paul Stevens, Clarence Thomas

Justices Dissenting

Stephen Breyer, Sandra Day O'Connor, David H. Souter


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

25 June 1997


Ruled in favor of Boerne, overturning two lower court decisions, and held that Congress impermissibly intruded on the powers of the states to enact laws for the general health and welfare of their citizens by enacting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Related Cases

  • Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990).


Marquand, Robert. "High Court Clips Protections for Religous Freedom in the U.S."The Christian Science Monitor, 26 June 1997.

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