Finding Benevolent Neutrality in Land Use: RLUIPA’s Equal Terms Provision and the Human Flourishing Theory of Property
Hun Lee, B.A., Catholic University of Korea, 2016; J.D., Cornell Law School, 2021.
This Note will examine the circuit courts’ different approaches to interpreting the Equal Terms provision and suggest that the provision should be interpreted from the perspective of property law rather than the current judicial framework, which is inapt to resolve the inherent tension underlying RLUIPA and First Amendment jurisprudence. The Note will first identify this tension in Part I by surveying the history of RLUIPA in relation to the evolution of First Amendment jurisprudence. Part II will analyze the different approaches that circuit courts have taken to interpret RLUIPA’s Equal Terms provision, concluding that existing judicial approaches and the commentaries thereof call for an alternative approach informed by principles of property law. Part III will introduce a property theory based on the concept of human flourishing, arguing that the theory can provide an effective interpretive framework that may resolve issues regarding religious land use such as the interpretation of RLUIPA’s Equal Terms provision.