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At issue in City of Boerne v. Flores (1997) was the constitutionality of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was passed by Congress in 1993. Congress had passed the act in response to an earlier Supreme Court decision rejecting state employees' appeal of their dismissal for smoking a controlled substance as part of their religious practice. In Flores, the Court found that this legislation, according to which the government had to demonstrate a compelling reason to interfere with religious practice, could be applied to federal actions but not to the states. Flores raised the question of whether receiving federal funds may trigger the protections of the RFRA in disputes involving school districts.

Facts of the Case

The city of Boerne adopted an ordinance designed to preserve ...

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