UDV v. UNITED STATES - Unanimous Ruling, November 1, 2005
“The Supreme Court heard oral arguments November 1, 2005, and issued its opinion February 21, 2006, finding that the Government failed to meet its burden under RFRA that barring the substance served a compelling government interest.”
“The court also disagreed with the government’s central argument that the uniform application of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) does not allow for exceptions for the substance in this case, as Native Americans are given exceptions to use Peyote, another Schedule I substance“
Cite as: 546 U. S. ____ (2006) 1
Opinion of the Court
NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested to notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
ALBERTO R. GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. O CENTRO ESPIRITA BENEFICENTE UNIAO DO VEGETAL ET AL. ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT
[February 21, 2006]
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.
A religious sect with origins in the Amazon Rainforest receives communion by drinking a sacramental tea, brewed from plants unique to the region, that contains a hallucinogen regulated under the Controlled Substances Act by the Federal Government. The Government concedes that this practice is a sincere exercise of religion, but nonetheless sought to prohibit the small American branch of the sect from engaging in the practice, on the ground that the Controlled Substances Act bars all use of the hallucinogen. The sect sued to block enforcement against it of the ban on the sacramental tea, and moved for a preliminary injunction.
It relied on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which prohibits the Federal Government from substantially burdening a person exercise of religion, unless the Government demonstrates that application of the burden to the person represents the least restrictive means of advancing a compelling interest. 42 U. S. C.