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Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly

Authors

Griffin Estes

Abstract

Since the Court's decision in Glossip v. Gross, a capital inmate has the burden of proposing an alternative method-of-execution to be administered in lieu of the statutorily proscribed method if the inmate believes that the method-of-execution to be used in their execution would violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on "cruel and unusual punishments." Many inmates have specific religious beliefs and it is possible that a condemned inmate might have a religious objection to capital punishment. The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA") represents Congress's sensitivity toward the religious liberties of inmates. This Note applies the RLUIPA framework to a claim by a hypothetical death row inmate who has a religious belief against capital punishment. Because the capital inmate's religious beliefs are substantially burdened and because there are less burdensome ways to achieve the government objective sought, this Note argues that Glossip's method-of-execution pleading requirement violates the free exercise rights of the hypothesized inmate.

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