THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
A federal District Court in Texas yesterday held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is unconstitutional.
The President strongly supported the adoption of RFRA, which he signed into law in 1993. As the President observed at that time, the Act "affirm(s) the historic role that people of faith have played in the history of this country and the constitutional protections those who profess and express their faith have always demanded and cherished." This Administration is committed to the Act's full implementation in order to protect the religious liberties of all Americans, and we will continue to defend its constitutionality in the courts.
The Justice Department has intervened in the Texas case to support the Act's constitutionality. The Solicitor General has determined that the Department will now join in the appeal from the District Court decision.
Prior to the Texas decision, no court had found RFRA unconstitutional. A federal District Court in Hawaii last month upheld the constitutionality of the Act, and the Justice Department is participating in support of the Act in four other federal court cases which have not yet been decided.
RFRA provides that the government many not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion unless there is a compelling governmental interest and the governmental has adopted the least restrictive means of furthering that interest