The Corner

The Arkansas Solution

The text of the amended religious-freedom bill, now signed into law, is here. It appears to me that the Arkansas legislature handled the issues better than the Indiana one. The text says that the law should be interpreted consistent with the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and its judicial interpretation. The federal law has been read to cover businesses and, in most circuits, to cover litigation between private parties if that litigation invokes federal law. Those were the two ways the Indiana law supposedly “expanded” federal law. The Arkansas law seems to retain those features but make it impossible to describe it as more extreme than the federal law.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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