Smith v. Fair Employment and Housing Commission: Religious Freedom and Anti-discrimination Laws Square Off in the Landlord/Tenant Setting
Goles, David S.
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This casenote examines the California Supreme Court decision of Smith v. Fair Employment and Housing Commission and determines that the analysis applied by the court was improper and not in conformance with precedential law. The note begins by providing a historical overview of the various approaches the United States Supreme Court has taken in analyzing the right to freely exercise religion. After determining what the current analysis is, the author examines the Smith decision and determines the California Supreme Court misapplied the third part of that analysis, the substantial burden test. The author argues that had the California Supreme Court properly applied the test, the court would have found a substantial burden to have been present and, ultimately, decided the case differently. The note ends with a brief discussion of the practical impact and implications of the Smith decision.