In the economic doldrums of the late 1970s, the State of Michigan hit on an idea to take over some land it liked and build a car plant which would create jobs and economic benefit. The people who owned the land weren’t all that thrilled about the idea, nevertheless, the state persisted. Eventually, the Michigan Supreme Court decided that the taking was a legitimate use of eminent domain for economic benefit. Thirty-seven years later, it didn’t turn out to be such a great idea.
The State of Indiana argued yesterday that seizing a person’s car for doing 5mph over the speed limit was not an “excessive fine.” Seriously. That’s not a joke. They really argued that. The Supreme Court didn’t think that it was funny.
The (Very) Liberal History of the Indiana RFRA
In Indiana, controversy reigns over the State’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, with accusations flying that it will allow rampant discrimination against gay people. So why did Indiana feel the need to pass such a law in the first place? What was it that compelled a Democrat Party controlled Congress to pass the first Religious Freedom Restoration Act by a unanimous vote in the House of Representatives and a 97-3 vote in the Senate before being signed by President Bill Clinton? And if the nations liberals saw good in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, what is it about Indiana’s version that has them so worked up?
In this episode we take a look at the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and how we got to the point where Indiana (and a lot of other States) felt compelled to pass such a law. The story begins in the migrant worker farmed fields of Texas in the 1930’s, with a child born to migrant farm workers who will go on to fight for Civil rights and to freely express his religious beliefs…