Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah
508 U.S. 520 (1993)
LBA was a Santeria religion
that practiced animal sacrifice. They opened a church in Hialeah, and
started performing rituals.
In response, the city council
passed an ordinance that prohibited animal sacrifice.
LBA sued, claiming that the
ordinance was an unconstitutional infringement on their 1st
Amendment right to free exercise
The Trial Court found for
Hialeah. LBA appealed.
The Trial Court looked to Employment
Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith (497 U.S. 872 (1990)), and found that Hialeah
had compelling government interest in preventing animal
The Appellate Court affirmed.
The US Supreme Court reversed
and overturned the ordinance.
The US Supreme Court found
that the ordinance was not neutral or generally applicable.
The Court found that the
ordinance was not neutral and appeared to have been passed specifically
to stop LBA.
The Court found that since
the ordinance exempted killing animals for practically every other
reason, it was underinclusive for
the stated goal of preventing animal cruelty and so could not be
considered generally applicable.
The Court found that, unlike
in Smith, when a law is not
neutral and generally applicable, the proper standard of review is strict
A law that meets the Smith
Test is only required to pass a rational
The basic difference between
this case and Smith was that Smith involved a law against illegal drugs and a
religion that used drugs in their ceremonies. In that case the law was
designed to fight illegal drugs in general, and only
incidentally affected the religion. In this case, the anti-sacrifice
ordinance was passed for the sole purpose of interfering with a religious