oa Constitutional Court Review - Cultural and religious accommodations to school uniform regulations : case comments

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2073-6215



Laws and regulations in modern liberal democracies rarely discriminate deliberately against members of religious and cultural groups or target religious and cultural practices. In one relatively recent example, , the US Supreme Court invalidated municipal ordinances adopted by the city of Hialeah for the specific purpose of proscribing animal sacrifice practised by the Santeria religion. Since these ordinances did not constitute a neutral law of general applicability, but deliberately targeted a religious practice, the Supreme Court determined that they were invalid unless they served a compelling state interest. Since the state could not show such an interest, the ordinances were declared, relatively uncontroversially, to be in violation of the Free Exercise clause (the US equivalent of South Africa's right to freedom of religion and conscience) and so invalid.

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