CHURCH OF THE LUKUMI BABALU AYE, INC. AND Ernesto PICHARDO,
CITY OF HIALEAH.
United States Supreme Court Official Transcript.
Wednesday, November 4, 1992.
The above-entitled matter came on for oral argument before the Supreme
Court of the United States at 10:01 a.m.
DOUGLAS LAYCOCK, ESQ., Austin, Texas; on behalf of the
[Oral Arguments 2]
RICHARD G. GARRETT, ESQ., Miami, Florida; on behalf of the Respondent.
ORAL ARGUMENT OF DOUGLAS LAYCOCK, ESQ. On behalf of the Petitioner
ORAL ARGUMENT OF RICHARD G. GARRETT, ESQ. On behalf of the Respondent
REBUTTAL ARGUMENT OF DOUGLAS LAYCOCK, ESQ. On behalf of the Petitioner
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: We'll hear argument
first this morning in Number 91-948, Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc.
v. the City of Hialeah.
ORAL ARGUMENT OF DOUGLAS LAYCOCK
ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONER
MR. LAYCOCK: Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court:
This is a case about open discrimination against
a minority religion. The four ordinances challenged here were enacted in
direct response to the church's announcement that it would build a church
and practice in public. They were enacted for the express purpose of preventing
the central rituals of this faith. That purpose is recited in the preambles
to the ordinances and in the accompanying resolutions. The preambles say
that the city's --
QUESTION: Is that true of each of the ordinances?
MR. LAYCOCK: It is not recited in all four of them, no, Justice
White. It is recited in two of the preambles and in one of the resolutions.
QUESTION: So it's possible that some of the [Oral
Arguments 4] ordinances could be upheld --
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, we do need --
QUESTION: Or at least it's possible that some of the ordinances
might not be discriminatory on their face is that it?
MR. LAYCOCK: It is possible in theory, yes.
QUESTION: Okay. All right.
MR. LAYCOCK: All four ordinances have merged from the same pattern
of legislation. I think they all share the intent, but the intent is recited
principally in 87-52 and 87-71.
The accompanying resolution that goes with
the ordinance recites that the target is certain religions and certain
acts of any and all religious groups. The ordinances are written in religious
terminology. They do not forbid killing, they forbid sacrifice, and indeed,
these ordinances do not forbid any physical act as such. All the prohibitions
depend in part upon an analysis of the purposes or motives of the actor,
and when the analysis is complete, the religious motive is always forbidden.
But I think what is most revealing about these ordinances
is that they are written on the assumption that animal sacrifice is unnecessary.
The city's brief says it's unnecessary, the State Attorney General's opinion [Oral
Arguments 5] says it's unnecessary, all of the city's amici
say it is unnecessary, and lack of necessity is an element of the offense
in three of the four ordinances.
QUESTION: Mr. Laycock, may I ask you a preliminary question?
There is a State law that touches on some of this as well, is there not?
MR. LAYCOCK: There is a State law that is incorporated into
one of the ordinances. The State law is not challenged in this case. I
QUESTION: Well, has the Attorney General of the State interpreted
the State law to encompass the practices at issue here?
MR. LAYCOCK: Yes. The State -- the sequence was, was the Hialeah
City Council enacted ordinance 87-40, which incorporates the State statute,
and then the city requested of the Attorney General an opinion as to whether
the State statute that had thus been incorporated applied to animal sacrifice,
and he responded that it did apply because sacrifice is unnecessary.
QUESTION: So even if you win here, presumably the State law
would be in effect.
MR. LAYCOCK: Whether the State law remains in effect, the State
is not a party. There was no ripe threat of prosecution from the State.
There was a ripe threat from the city.
QUESTION: And so do we have any of the concerns expressed in
Renee v. Geary, our case dealing with redressability?
MR. LAYCOCK: I'm not familiar with Renee, but I am familiar
with the redressability issue. This lawsuit can resolve all of the ripe
threats of prosecution and entirely redress that injury.
The State may or may not at some point in
the future attempt to enforce the State law. It has not yet done so. There
are a variety of other general statutes that the city may at some point
construe to apply against us. None of those controversies are ripe either.
QUESTION: Well, the State law may not suffer from what you claim
to be the principal flaw in these ordinances, namely, an express intent
to affect religious rituals, and the State law may be neutral on its face.
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, the State law is not neutral on its face
as applied to this practice, but you're right, Justice White, that the
history of the State law is very different. That would be a different case,
but an attempt to enforce the State --
QUESTION: Well, if there was an attack on the State law, would
you be arguing that it is specifically aimed at religious practices and
MR. LAYCOCK: No. If we were attacking the [Oral
Arguments 7] State law, I would be arguing that the theory,
the legal theory of the Attorney General to make the State law applicable
targeted religion. The statute as a whole has many secular applications,
but the theory by which it might apply to us is a theory that violates
the First Amendment and is specifically targeted at religion.
QUESTION: Well, would the attack on the State law be somewhat
more difficult for you to sustain than the attack on the local ordinance?
MR. LAYCOCK: I think that if the ordinances are struck down,
the stare decisis effect will pretty much take care of us on the State
statute, but the history, the way in which the ordinances were enacted,
is unique to the ordinances and does not apply to the statute. The --
QUESTION: Mr. Laycock, what do you rely on for the threat of
prosecution from the city? It's just the prologue, or have there been other
threats of prosecution?
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, the finding of fact is that the city firmly
intended to prevent all animal sacrifice in the city, the city adopted
resolutions reciting that intention, the entire legislative package was
targeted at my clients. The threat of prosecution seemed quite real, and
then they have complied for 5 years as a result of that threat of prosecution.
QUESTION: Are some of these ordinances zoning [Oral
Arguments 8] ordinances?
MR. LAYCOCK: No, none of them are zoning ordinances, and zoning
is a red herring in the case.
Some of the ordinances say that with proper
zoning you can have a commercial food business or a commercial slaughterhouse,
but none of the ordinances say or even imply that with proper zoning you
could sacrifice. Sacrifice is absolutely forbidden.
So there are farms within the city limits
with proper zoning. You can slaughter hogs and cattle with proper zoning.
Slaughterhouses turn out millions of pounds of meat per day, and in theory,
although not in fact, they could be zoned into Hialeah, but sacrifice will
remain absolutely forbidden by these ordinances even with those -- even
with slaughterhouse zoning.
QUESTION: And does your client still intend to perform these
sacrifices within the City of Hialeah?
MR. LAYCOCK: Yes, he does.
QUESTION: Does the ordinance define sacrifice?
MR. LAYCOCK: The ordinance defines sacrifice as the unnecessary
killing of an animal in a ritual or ceremony not for the primary purpose
of food consumption.
QUESTION: And when you say sacrifice, you are using it in the
term that the ordinance defines it, then.
MR. LAYCOCK: That's right. That's right.
QUESTION: Mr. Laycock, if you were attacking solely the State
statute and you were doing so following an opinion of the Attorney General
that a sacrifice was unnecessary, what would your argument be consistent
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, Smith says that religious acts are subject
to neutral and generally applicable regulation, but Smith also reaffirms
the long line of cases that says Government cannot resolve religious controversies.
Government cannot decide whether sacrifice is necessary or unnecessary.
An element of the offense under the State
law is that the killing of the animal be unnecessary. That's also an element
under three of the four ordinances. The only way to prove that sacrifice
is unnecessary is to prove that Santeria is a false religion.
To believers in Santeria, sacrifice is directly
commanded by the gods in considerable detail on each occasion when it is
required. To prove it unnecessary, you must prove the religion false, and
when the prosecutor has to prove a religion false, the prosecutor is engaged
in a heresy trial.
QUESTION: Gee, there -- I'm sure there are a lot of statutes,
local, State and Federal, that use the term unnecessary. Do you mean whenever
somebody says that [Oral
Arguments 10] God tells him it is necessary, that statute
is invalid as applied to that person? That can't be right.
MR. LAYCOCK: The prohibition has to depend upon something other
than the lack of necessity, Justice Scalia.
If Hialeah had a generally applicable prohibition
on killing animals, if it said no one may kill an animal in the City of
Hialeah, the religious necessity would be irrelevant under this Court's
decision in Smith, but Hialeah doesn't have anything like that. Hialeah
says, you can kill animals for a whole range of reasons that we the city
consider necessary, but not for this religious reason that we the city
So the necessity element is applied directly
to the theological question, and that is forbidden, I think, by the most
central principal of the First Amendment and reaffirmed in Employment Division
It's also important that none of these ordinances
interfere with any of the routine killings of animals that the citizens
of Hialeah depend upon every day. The city tells us that all of those killings
are not only necessary, they're important. Bow and arrow hunting is very
important. Getting rid of surplus pets is important.
QUESTION: Is there a lot of bow and arrow [Oral
Arguments 11] hunting in the City of Hialeah?
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, there is bow and arrow hunting by citizens
of Hialeah who bring their kill, bring the entire carcass back to the city.
There are farms in the City of Hialeah. There are veterinary offices that
kill animals in Hialeah.
QUESTION: Well, certainly under our cases the city can deal
with one perceived evil at a time without having to deal with the whole
ball of wax, can't it?
MR. LAYCOCK: I disagree, Mr. Chief Justice. When the first step
is the First Amendment, they can't deal with that one step at a time. They
have to deal with constitutionally protected activities in a generally
They can distinguish bow hunting from killing
surplus pets one step at a time, but they can't say our one and only step
is to suppress this religion and distinguish that from all of the secular
killings of animals that they permit.
QUESTION: Even though that's the only evil that is occurring
in the -- and you say that's not so, but supposing that the city council
thought that was the only evil that were occurring in the City of Hialeah?
MR. LAYCOCK: But the reason they think it's the [Oral
Arguments 12] only evil is that they disapprove the religion.
QUESTION: Well, yes, but let's withdraw from that a little bit
and just say, supposing the city council sees what they perceive as this
evil, or something that they want to regulate. You say it violates the
First Amendment, and you say one reason it does is there are lots of other
things that they should have embraced, and their response to that is, well,
none of those were going on in the City of Hialeah.
MR. LAYCOCK: They have not said that none of those things go
QUESTION: No, but I'm giving --
MR. LAYCOCK: And the record does not show that none of those
things go on.
QUESTION: I'm giving you a hypothetical.
MR. LAYCOCK: Okay. Then -- yeah, if no other killings of animals
are going on in the City of Hialeah, then their solution under Smith would
be to draft an ordinance that simply says, it is illegal to kill an animal
in the City of Hialeah. That would be unfortunate for my clients, but under
Smith that would be a neutral and generally applicable law. And then --
QUESTION: They can't make any exceptions to it. Once they make
any exception at all, it's no longer a law of general applicability.
MR. LAYCOCK: I'm inclined to think they can't make any exceptions,
but this case doesn't get us anywhere close to that question.
QUESTION: You mean, you couldn't say you may kill animals for
food but not for other purposes -- not for sport, not for sacrifice, not
for anything but food. You couldn't even make that exception.
MR. LAYCOCK: I can imagine an exception you'd kill an animal
in self defense if you're being attacked by a bear.
QUESTION: Yes, an animal in self -- or --
MR. LAYCOCK: Right, okay. I can imagine very narrow exceptions,
but what they cannot do is create broad exceptions that eliminate the political
resistance to the law and enable them merely to target the unpopular religion.
They have to treat -- as I read your opinion in Smith, they have to treat
religion at least as well as they treat favored secular activities.
QUESTION: Well, but it may not be targeting the unpopular religion,
it may be targeting the unpopular act, which may be an act that happens
to be practiced only by the religion.
MR. LAYCOCK: The act is not different. The animal is equally
dead whether killed in a ritual or ceremony or killed otherwise.
QUESTION: Yes, but you've acknowledged that the act becomes
different depending upon what its purpose is, that you'll allow it in self
defense, you might allow it for food, but you might not want to allow it
for other purposes.
MR. LAYCOCK: I -- I --
QUESTION: It's a different act depending on what the --
MR. LAYCOCK: I do not believe they can allow animals to be killed
for food without a ritual or ceremony and forbid these sacrifices where
the animals are killed in a ritual or ceremony and then eaten. They can't
QUESTION: Take, for example, United States v. Reynolds, which
was the case in which we upheld the constitutionality of a law prohibiting
bigamy in the territory of the United States.
Suppose that -- in fact, the only -- there
was no problem with bigamy, that the only reason the law was enacted was
because there was a single -- a single religious group that practiced it.
Would that law therefore, since the only people who do that act happen
to do it for religious reasons, is that law invalid?
MR. LAYCOCK: That law was not invalid. That law was not analogous
to this one. It did not say bigamy [Oral
Arguments 15] is forbidden when done pursuant to the teachings
of celestial marriage, bigamy is bad when done for religious reasons. It
was an across-the-board prohibition, and --
QUESTION: But --
MR. LAYCOCK: It implemented a prohibition that had been present
in Anglo- American law for centuries, and there had been bigamy by people
who were not Mormons and who were not religiously motivated.
QUESTION: That hinges on your saying -- or ignoring, I think,
the definition of sacrifice though, doesn't it, because the definition
of sacrifice includes any ritualistic killing which would include a killing
by a fraternity group.
Now, you may say well, there aren't
any fraternity groups, but that just brings you back to the problem in
Reynolds. There may not have been anybody else practicing bigamy, either.
MR. LAYCOCK: There may not have been anybody else in Utah at
that moment, but bigamy laws have been around for a long time because there
had been a problem that the legislatures and the common law had addressed.
The legislatures and the common law have never
tried to suppress the killing of animals in any systematic way, and if
this Court is willing to accept that a definition of sacrifice that contains
a hypothetical [Oral
Arguments 16] fraternity ritual is thereby not targeted religion,
I think you would equally have to accept that a prohibition on communion
is nondiscriminatory and neutral because it might include a fraternity
QUESTION: Could the city council require that all slaughter
of animals within the city be done in a humane manner and define humane
in a way that the result of which was to either prohibit or require the
alteration of these sacrifices?
MR. LAYCOCK: Again, I think they could do that if they did it
in a neutral and across-the-board way, but many of the killings that they
permit are slower and less reliable, crueler than the method of sacrifice
by slicing the carotid arteries, which is the method specified in the State
and Federal humane slaughter acts.
QUESTION: Well, Mr. Laycock, in your view as you read Smith,
what is the purpose of the neutrality requirement? Is it an end in itself?
MR. LAYCOCK: I don't think it's an end in itself. I hope
that the purpose is to build into the political process some of the protection
for religious minorities that the other half of Smith says that the courts
are not going to be providing on their own.
QUESTION: Well, we have a neutrality standard that we administer.
What is the purpose of that standard?
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, I think the purpose is that this Court stands
ready, it says in Smith, to say that if you -- if a Government singles
out religion for special burdens or special prohibition, that is forbidden.
You have to at least treat religious acts as well as you treat analogous
QUESTION: And that is the ultimate end.
MR. LAYCOCK: Well --
QUESTION: We don't have a further reason that --
MR. LAYCOCK: Well --
QUESTION: We are concerned with --
MR. LAYCOCK: No, I -- I --
QUESTION: Prohibiting legislatures --
MR. LAYCOCK: Well --
QUESTION: From acting with hostility to religion.
MR. LAYCOCK: I -- I can't read your minds, but I think the purpose
for which you enunciated that requirement is that requiring the legislature
to treat an unpopular minority faith as well as it treats the bulk of the
population will give a sort of self-enforcing political protection to the
They cannot suppress sacrifice unless they
are willing to suppress food killings, poison in people's [Oral
Arguments 18] yards, exterminators --
QUESTION: Well, but I take it the underlying purpose for that
is to avoid a regime which is hostile to religion.
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, I think that's right, but whether or not
the whole regime is hostile to religion or whether only a particular body
of legislation or a single law is hostile to a particular religion, I think
the neutrality requirement is designed to protect religious practices at
least to keep -- it's a way of avoiding open persecution if they can single
out a religion and treat it differently from how they treat everybody else.
QUESTION: Well then the ultimate -- our ultimate inquiry, our
ultimate purpose, is to avoid a particular subjective motivation on the
part of the State.
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, certainly avoiding that subjective motivation
I think is part of your purpose, but I don't think it should be all of
the purposes. Whatever you find about the subjective motive of the council,
if the ordinances on their face forbid sacrifice and do not forbid other
killings, I think that's discriminatory.
QUESTION: Well, that might be simply an objective mechanism
MR. LAYCOCK: That's right. But I think either --
QUESTION: For probing the existence of the forbidden intent.
MR. LAYCOCK: Both the objective and the subjective I think are
evidentiary on each other, but as I read Smith and as I read analogous
cases in the equal protection context -- Washington v. Davis and Massachusetts
v. Feeney, I think either objective discrimination in the text of the statute
or a subjective discriminatory motive is sufficient to put us into the
QUESTION: Because they both are probative of the forbidden purpose.
MR. LAYCOCK: I think that's right.
QUESTION: Did the district court make any finding on the question
MR. LAYCOCK: Yes, he did. He made two findings:
1) The city council's specific intention was
to prevent animal sacrifice anywhere in the city. I think that, in terms
of discrimination against religion, is a finding of discrimination.
And 2) that the city council did not intend
to discriminate against Santeria as opposed to Palo Mayombe or any other
animal sacrificing religion. It was going to treat all these minority religions
equally, but there was [Oral
Arguments 20] intent to suppress this family of religions.
QUESTION: The family of religions, or the practice of sacrifice.
I mean, was there a finding that there was an antagonism towards Santeria?
Was there any attempt to suppress the religion as such?
MR. LAYCOCK: When you suppress the central ritual, I think you
suppress the religion.
QUESTION: Well, that's true, but you know, --
MR. LAYCOCK: The finding is --
QUESTION: There have been people like the Thugs were a religious
group, I believe, and their central ritual was killing other people.
MR. LAYCOCK: Right.
QUESTION: Surely that can be suppressed.
MR. LAYCOCK: That can be suppressed pursuant to neutral and
generally applicable laws against murder, and I suppose even pursuant to
the compelling interest, but --
QUESTION: And Hialeah says they have a universal, generally
applicable law against ritualistic killing of animals.
MR. LAYCOCK: But that is not a universal or generally applicable
law at all.
QUESTION: Yes --
MR. LAYCOCK: It applies only to religion.
QUESTION: No. Anybody who wants to have a [Oral
Arguments 21] ritual and -- you're quite right, it doesn't
happen very often in fraternities, though I imagine it happens now and
then. But why isn't that a valid argument, that -- they don't care whether
you're doing it for religious reasons or not. They really don't care what
your reason is.
MR. LAYCOCK: If that's a valid argument, you really have repealed
the free exercise clause. Any lawyer in the country with that standard
of drafting can draft an ordinance to get any church that happens to be
at crosswise with the city council. You know, it's --
QUESTION: In effect you're saying you've got to define the act
without reference to the intention of the people who perform the act.
MR. LAYCOCK: You have to define the act without reference to
the religious or secular motives, and you have to define the act without
reference to things that are themselves inherently religious. In Smith,
QUESTION: You must ban all killing of animals or else no killing
of animals because the purpose can't be taken into account, is that what
MR. LAYCOCK: You must ban all killing of animals or you must
permit religious killing of animals. Of course --
QUESTION: I thought you said you could at least allow self defense.
That's a purpose.
MR. LAYCOCK: I said we would have a much harder and closer case
if there were a couple of narrow --
QUESTION: I don't think it's close at all. I think it's obvious
you can say -- I think it's obvious you're allowed to allow the killing
of animals in self defense, and that doesn't mean you have to allow all
MR. LAYCOCK: That's right, but if the self defense exception
would be permitted it would be because of the indication in Smith that
the permitted reasons are compellingly different from the religious reasons.
QUESTION: The purpose makes a difference, so you can take purpose
MR. LAYCOCK: You can -- but you don't take it into account at
the neutrality stage, you take it into account at the compelling interest
The argument would be that saving human life
by killing an animal in self defense is a compelling interest, and that
that distinguishes that narrow exception from the religious killings of
animals, but what they've done here is say, you can kill animals for almost
any reason -- just because you're tired of taking care of them, that's
a good enough reason. That's necessary -- but not for religious reasons.
QUESTION: Did the courts below here apply a [Oral
Arguments 23] compelling interest standard in analyzing the
MR. LAYCOCK: I think not, Your Honor. They --
QUESTION: Well, they --
MR. LAYCOCK: Recited the compelling interest.
QUESTION: They purported to do so.
MR. LAYCOCK: They purported to, but --
QUESTION: And --
MR. LAYCOCK: They effectively equated it with rational basis.
QUESTION: And specifically, where do you find the fault with
the analysis of the courts below?
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, there's no effort to require the city to
show that its compelling interest fit the discrimination in these statutes.
Its ritual and ceremony has nothing to do with the pain to the animals
or the problem of disposal. There is no effort to insist that the compelling
interest be pursued in a neutral or generally applicable way. There is
no insistence that the interest be especially important.
What all of these interests are are incremental
reductions in quite general problems that the city manages for secular
purposes. We have carcasses lying on the road when pets are killed by cars.
The city doesn't ban cars and it doesn't ban pets. It responds to the problem.
An incremental reduction in a general problem [Oral
Arguments 24] cannot be obtained at the expense of the First
Amendment. That can -- the incremental reduction can never be a compelling
interest, and that's really what the district court found over in --
QUESTION: Certainly city can distinguish between accidental
killings of pets by cars and treat them one way and intentional killing
of animals on the other, can't it?
MR. LAYCOCK: Yes, but the accident intention distinction doesn't
go to the disposal problem. The disposal problem is this. There are --
some small fraction of all the animals that are sacrificed are apparently
improperly disposed of by certain members of these faiths. To eliminate
that small fraction, the city says, we have to forbid the entire practice
The analogous pursuit of the interest would
be to forbid all ownership of pets because some of them wind up dead and
lying on the roads. They've applied a prophylactic total ban to --
QUESTION: Yeah, but --
MR. LAYCOCK: To sacrifice.
QUESTION: One act is intentional and the other is just accidental.
MR. LAYCOCK: But most of the people who intentionally sacrifice
do not improperly dispose of the [Oral
Arguments 25] animal. The finding is most of the sacrificed
animals are eaten.
QUESTION: Well, like so many cases it depends on how you describe
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, I understand, but they've described the class
in a discriminatory way. They've described the class as -- in religious
terms and enacted a total prohibition on the religious conduct to get a
tiny reduction in problems that they simply manage and deal with in secular
context and they do not have any comparable prohibition on the secular
activities that produce the very same harms.
They don't prohibit hunting and other means
of cruel killing, and they don't prohibit other sources of garbage, but
they prohibit this religion because they think the religion is unnecessary.
QUESTION: Is it their failure to preclude broadly enough, is
it the underinclusiveness of it which precludes the finding of a compelling
MR. LAYCOCK: You can describe this as underinclusiveness if
you want, but this is underinclusiveness with a vengeance, because nothing
QUESTION: You're saying it's underinclusive with a purpose.
MR. LAYCOCK: No killings of animals are included except the
religious killings of animals, so it's underinclusive in a sense, but they
really have singled out religion for a prohibition that is applied nowhere
If there are no further questions, I'll
reserve my remaining time.
QUESTION: Very well, Mr. Laycock.
Mr. Garrett, we'll hear from you.
ORAL ARGUMENT OF RICHARD G. GARRETT
ON BEHALF OF THE RESPONDENT
MR. GARRETT: Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court:
As the record reflects, in the summer and
the fall of 1987, the councilmen observed that the citizens of the City
of Hialeah were concerned over the potential for animal sacrifices being
conducted in the City of Hialeah.
I think it is extremely important that the
factual setting be clear in order that the Court can make the evaluation
of whether or not in fact this religious practice was targeted or whether
a legitimate governmental purpose was the subject of these ordinances.
I believe that important factual consideration leads to answer many of
the questions that are posed with respect to the alleged subjective targeting
and the underinclusiveness [Oral
Arguments 27] that is alleged with regard to the ordinances.
Specifically, what Hialeah was facing in the
summer and fall of 1987 was a situation where tens of thousands of animals,
according to the district court findings, were being sacrificed in the
area of South Florida. The specific problems that the city encountered
in connection with these sacrifices --
QUESTION: But not in Hialeah.
MR. GARRETT: Excuse me, Your Honor.
QUESTION: But not yet in Hialeah.
MR. GARRETT: Your Honor, there are facts in the record that
reflect that sacrifices had in fact been occurring in Hialeah, that dead
animals were being found in public places --
QUESTION: All right.
MR. GARRETT: Within Hialeah, that animals were being, in effect,
tortured in Hialeah and subjected to cruel treatment in the form of possession
prior to sacrifice. The problems were certainly existent in Hialeah.
MR. GARRETT: I think that the record should reflect very clearly
that Hialeah was responding to the problem of ritualistic sacrifices taking
place in the city.
28] What type of problems are we talking about? We're talking
about human health hazards. The human health hazard evidence was evidence
concerning the fact that when sacrifices take place, that as many as 52
animals in a single day are killed, and they are killed in a private residence
in many instances and then they are decapitated, blood is put into pots,
the animals are then oftentimes left out in public places if there is a
ritual that requires the animal to be left in a public place.
There are problems connected with disease.
The disease problems were discussed directly at the trial court as being
a problem associated with the fact that the killings take place in residences,
and as a result of that you have spilled blood, you have animal parts left
in and around houses. That is different than the general problem of garbage,
QUESTION: Well -- well --
MR. GARRETT: It is significantly --
QUESTION: May I interrupt you for a minute? I suppose it would
have been possible for the city to approach this problem by adopting ordinances
spelling out the ways in which animals may be killed and the ways or requirements
for disposition of any remains, is that not right? I mean, it could have
enacted such ordinances.
MR. GARRETT: We believe not, in terms of [Oral
Arguments 29] effectiveness, Your Honor. We believe that
the nature of the animal sacrifice problem begins all the way from the
point in which the animals are possessed for the purposes of animal sacrifice,
that the evidence at the district court level was that the inhumane treatment
to the animals, which is one of the problems that we cite, begins at that
point, and that enforcement is almost impossible because the botanicas
and other farms that sell these animals, you have a quickly moving problem.
Enforcement is very difficult.
More importantly, with respect to the possession
of the animals during the sacrifice, there is no evidence that you can
solve all of the problems in a house, in a private residence, with respect
to a quiltwork of ordinances designed to regulate everything that goes
on in that private residence from the standpoint of how many animals you
have in that residence, how many -- how they can be killed, what you do
with the blood cauldrons, how you have to hold the knife.
Then you have problems associated with the
disposal of the animals, and that the religions oftentimes mandate they
be left in public places.
The point is that with respect to effectively
solving the problems, it is our position that, 1) you couldn't solve all
the problems with a series of [Oral
Arguments 30] ordinances, and 2) that the nature of the kind
of entanglement that you would be getting involved in as a result of passing
this patchwork of ordinances would itself cause a constitutionality problem
of entanglement with the religion.
Finally, the kind of ordinances that would
be required to deal with this problem even to begin approaching effectiveness
-- and we contend the city is not required constitutionally to enact a
large number of ordinances which still don't solve the problem.
But assuming that you did enact a large number of ordinances,
it's our position that they would be back in court saying you've in effect
prohibited us from doing what we need to do in our religion, because now
you have told us how we have to hold our knives, how we have to kill them,
how we have to handle the blood in the particular ceremonies, and how we
have to dispose of the animals, and our gods say that's not what we can
do, and therefore we would have the same problem.
We'd be back here with a different type of
argument, but with the same kind of argument that the regulatory framework
that we had created effectively precluded them from practicing their religion,
and that is the problem that the city was facing.
I'd like to go back to these --
QUESTION: You might have an ordinance that was easier to defend,
though, in that situation, if it had been directed more precisely at the
results of these proceedings rather than at the proceedings themselves.
MR. GARRETT: Well, our ordinances, Your Honor, are not directed
at religion, they are directed at the practice of animal sacrifice. They
are specifically directed at the conduct.
Now, a lot of argument has been made in the
neutrality area here, that really by targeting animal sacrifice we are
targeting the religions that do those animal sacrifices. That is not in
our opinion a proper analysis of the situation, because our legitimate
problem was animal sacrifices.
Our legitimate problem the record doesn't
reflect was hunting, it isn't euthanasia, it's not pest control, it is
the problem with animal sacrifice, all the way from the beginning of the
process and the damage to the animals to the end of the process and the
disposal of the remains. So we addressed what our problem was, we didn't
address what other kinds of problems may exist, and we're not required
QUESTION: But maybe you have to. But maybe you have to. That's
what it -- maybe what a generally applicable law means. You don't address
the problems of [Oral
Arguments 32] hunters who kill animals cruelly, or dispose
of their carcasses in a manner that you don't approve of or that's unsanitary,
but you do pick upon this religious practice.
MR. GARRETT: Your Honor, there are two responses to that:
1) This is not only a religious practice.
There is evidence in the record which has not been mentioned that groups
engage in this activity -- malevolent magic is mentioned by one of their
witnesses to describe what existed with respect to a goat that was cut
in half and found on Miami Beach.
There are also -- there's also evidence in
the record with respect to the fact that this particular type of practice
is engaged in by Satanists, by witchcraft, voodoo, and this Court has never
gone so far as to particularly extend protection to those groups.
QUESTION: Well, why shouldn't that go to the compelling interest?
You could say that these ordinances do target religion, but they're a compelling
MR. GARRETT: We believe that there are two ways, certainly,
to reach the result of the district court. The first way is the come to
the conclusion that we really do have a neutrality in terms of meeting
the neutrality standard of Smith, because we are not underinclusive.
33] We dealt with our particular governmental problem. We
didn't have any record of evidence of any problems of hunting, any problems
of euthanasia, and therefore we meet the neutrality standard.
But I think that there's a second separate
ground that doesn't even require a Smith analysis and conclusion of neutrality,
which is simply that we had substantial compelling governmental interests
that justified the particular ordinances at hand, and we mentioned at the
trial court and we argued that the human health hazards are substantial.
The human health hazards, which I want to
get back to a for a moment -- when you talk about killing of large numbers
of animals, and blood and goat heads being present in a community where
people live, in residence areas, you are dealing, according to the expert
testimony, with a problem of creating vectors for disease.
These vectors come about because in an area
where you have animal parts or blood in residential areas, you create harborages
for rats, who generally like to travel only within 150 feet of their particular
Then you have the possibility of the fleas,
the flies transmitting the diseases. Now, the diseases don't come from
the animals in particular. They may come from [Oral
Arguments 34] other animals that feed on them that are diseased.
QUESTION: But you let householders who have animals slaughter
-- there is an exception made for slaughter of a small number, outside
of a slaughterhouse, of a small number of pigs and such. Isn't there an
exception for that?
MR. GARRETT: There is not an exception in the city ordinances
of Hialeah that would permit an individual to slaughter his own animals
for any reason in his house. The ordinances cannot be read as permitting
any individual killing of animals in the City of Hialeah by a resident,
and so --
QUESTION: Supposing somebody had a sick cat, that he thought
he had to put him out of his misery, is it unlawful in Hialeah to kill
your own cat?
MR. GARRETT: There is a situation in Hialeah where you may,
for the purposes of --
QUESTION: Well, for no purpose except to put him out of its
MR. GARRETT: Yes, that would be permitted in the City of Hialeah,
but we believe that it would be permitted by an establishment that is qualified
to do that.
QUESTION: You mean, I couldn't just drown my own cat in the
bathtub or something like that?
MR. GARRETT: No, that would certainly be cruel.
QUESTION: It would.
MR. GARRETT: That would be a cruel killing. That would certainly
not be permitted under the ordinance.
QUESTION: It's forbidden to do that.
MR. GARRETT: It's forbidden. It's clearly forbidden under 87-40.
QUESTION: But supposing I gave him an injection of something
to put him to sleep, then, instead of doing it in the bathtub.
MR. GARRETT: In that situation it would be a permitted -- it
would be a permitted killing, yes.
QUESTION: Let's go back to your reason for not targeting the
unsanitary practice rather than targeting the religious practice that you
say ultimately leads to it. Why are you likely to be more effective in
targeting a religious practice so defined than you are in targeting an
unsanitary practice defined as such?
MR. GARRETT: Because the sanitary problem that we have identified
is one that is unique to animal parts in public places growing out of sacrifice.
QUESTION: Yes, but the sacrifice is unique to private practices
in private houses, and I don't see how you are likely to be very effective
in reaching that.
MR. GARRETT: Because if you prohibit the sacrifice, because
you are in a position to stop it at a point when the animals are possessed,
because you also have a possession statute and you have animals lined up
going into a residence, you in effect preclude the problem from developing.
QUESTION: Well, I know you do if you can do it, but I guess
my question is, why are you likely to be more effective in preventing the
practice within the private house than you are to be in preventing the
disposal in a public place?
MR. GARRETT: Because our view is that there are indications
of when an animal sacrifice is about to take place in a house. There are
large numbers of people, there are animals outside, and it is the view
that we would be able to stop that.
On the other hand, with respect to the placement
of individual animals throughout the community, that doesn't nearly create
the level of conduct or problem that would be perceived by the governmental
authorities from an enforcement point of view.
QUESTION: Did the district court make findings on these indicia
of approaching sacrifice?
MR. GARRETT: The district court made some very specific findings
about how overwhelming the sacrifice [Oral
Arguments 37] process can become in terms of large numbers
of animals being sacrificed in one initiation ceremony in a very small
house in Hialeah with a 6 x 10 kitchen, and the district court judge marveled
how this could all be done in a sanitary condition under circumstances
where the animals were cared for properly under circumstances where the
killing was --
QUESTION: But you don't allow that. I mean, you don't allow
that no matter how sanitary, no matter how easy it is rendered for you
to police it. There is not even exception -- you make an exception for
slaughterhouses. You can have a licensed slaughterhouse where killing may
occur, because I guess it can be inspected and so forth.
MR. GARRETT: It can be inspected, it can be regulated --
MR. GARRETT: The method of killing can be monitored --
QUESTION: But if you're talking about sacrificial killing, you
don't even allow it to be done at a place -- a temple, a church, whatever
-- where they say, come in and inspect. Do you want to come in and inspect?
MR. GARRETT: Your Honor, I think --
QUESTION: You allow it to be done nowhere, no matter how easy
it is for you to police, no matter how willing they are to have you inspect
it. You just say, no sacrifice.
MR. GARRETT: I think there is an open question with respect
to the ordinance 87-72, under circumstances where all of the other problems
associated with animal sacrifice were alleviated -- and when I'm talking
about that, the cruelty to the animals, the situation of the method of
slaughter, whether it is humane or not -- which could permit the animal
slaughtering where the food is consumed, under 87-72, in an area that was
properly zoned for slaughterhouses, and I think that that is something
that the petitioners have never pursued.
The record reflects that on the eve of trial
of this case the petitioners made an application for the purpose of being
able to conduct animal sacrifice as a slaughterhouse in the location of
the church, and that was never pursued. There is also quoted in the --
QUESTION: When you say never pursued, did the city act on it?
MR. GARRETT: The -- it was in effect withdrawn. It was not pursued.
It was immediately on the verge of trial. It was not pursued. There was
QUESTION: So there is no pending application in [Oral
Arguments 39] the City of Hialeah.
MR. GARRETT: As we understand at this point there is no pending
application at the City of Hialeah.
QUESTION: Does the City of Hialeah allow people in their homes
to trap mice and rats --
MR. GARRETT: Yes.
QUESTION: If they're killed in the process --
MR. GARRETT: Yes.
QUESTION: And to boil live lobsters and eat them?
MR. GARRETT: There is clearly a prohibition in the ordinances
about the boiling of lobsters, if you read the ordinances as saying, as
I think they do -- or any other animals, so I don't believe that the lobsters
QUESTION: You can't boil the lobster --
QUESTION: You can't eat lobster --
QUESTION: In Hialeah.
MR. GARRETT: I think that technically -- a technical reading
of the ordinance would say that the boiling of lobsters is claused by,
other animals. In your house, I think there is an exception --
QUESTION: And what's the exception for the mice and rats? Where
do I find that?
MR. GARRETT: The exception for the mice and rats would be in
the State statute with respect to ordinances.
QUESTION: I thought we were looking at the city ordinances.
MR. GARRETT: Yes, and there are --
QUESTION: I just wondered where I found the exception. Can you
MR. GARRETT: I believe I can. I believe that the exception is
that it would not fall within a sacrifice --
QUESTION: Could you give us the page number of the --
MR. GARRETT: Well --
QUESTION: Are you referring to the text of some ordinance, and
where would I find it?
MR. GARRETT: Yes. I think that none of the ordinances would
define it as a sacrifice. I believe that it is not being killed for food,
and therefore it would not be covered under the particular ordinances.
QUESTION: The trapping and so forth are not sacrifices.
MR. GARRETT: That's correct.
QUESTION: And that's because what the city was trying to prohibit
here was just the ritual sacrifice as [Oral
Arguments 41] performed by this church and others like it.
MR. GARRETT: No, I think that what the effort was here was --
and we make -- we don't try and argue against this. We were trying to prevent
animal sacrifices. The question --
QUESTION: By this church and others like it.
MR. GARRETT: Not only churches, by any person, by any religion,
by any cult, by any secular act --
QUESTION: You talked earlier about the slaughterhouse possibility.
Suppose there is an area that's zoned for a slaughterhouse and it is a
slaughterhouse, can it be used on Saturdays and Sundays for animal sacrifices?
MR. GARRETT: I believe that there are no slaughterhouses at
this point in the City of Hialeah.
QUESTION: Well, I want -- I have a hypothetical city and a hypothetical
MR. GARRETT: In that situation, I believe that there would under
the rulings of this Court probably have to be either a Saturday or Sunday
available in order to conduct the rituals in those particular slaughterhouses.
QUESTION: That is to say that the sacrificial rites that are
conducted in a slaughterhouse are protected by the First Amendment.
MR. GARRETT: I think that they would be. Yes, [Oral
Arguments 42] I do.
QUESTION: There is a First Amendment right to sacrifice animals.
MR. GARRETT: No, I believe that there is a First Amendment right
to, in a situation where you have a circumstance where you are allowing
some religious practices to occur in a slaughterhouse, that you would have
to allow them to occur on a Saturday or a Sunday.
QUESTION: Well, let me ask you this. If a church finds a slaughterhouse
that is properly zoned and if it follows standards of applicability that
are general for the disposal of animals, does it have a constitutional
right to engage in its sacrificial services?
MR. GARRETT: No, we do not believe that a church would have
a right to engage in animal sacrifice under circumstances that you have
MR. GARRETT: Because we believe that the Constitution does not
allow all religious practices to be engaged in even if they are central
to the religion. The Reynolds case made it very clear that even though
polygamy was central to the Mormon Church, that laws basically outlawing
the polygamists activities were laws that were constitutional. We would
submit that the fact that it is [Oral
Arguments 43] important to a religion, if there is a legitimate
governmental purpose to the particular restrictions --
QUESTION: Then is the legitimate governmental purpose here the
prohibition of sacrifice, per se?
MR. GARRETT: We submit that it is. We submit that animal sacrifice
is an appropriate category to be specifically focused on by a series of
QUESTION: And is it a fair reading of these ordinances to find
that that policy is implicit in these ordinances?
MR. GARRETT: I think it is a fair reading of the ordinances
that they in effect attempt to preclude animal sacrifice, and they do that
in a number of different ways, and I think that is the question that the
Court is facing, whether or not the attempt, and in this case a successful
attempt to preclude the animal sacrifice as a governmental problem, is
one that can be done under the First Amendment, free exercise provision.
QUESTION: But would you not agree that in order for the prohibition
to be legitimate, the public values that you assert are being furthered
by the prohibition must not be allowed to be compromised through other
exceptions to the killing that you allow, because otherwise you would have
nothing left but an antagonism towards the religion. You do not like sacrifice
to be [Oral Arguments
If you have other values -- cruelty to animals
or public sanitation or whatever else -- at least the other exceptions
that you make from your general prohibition cannot permit those things
MR. GARRETT: I believe that the question becomes what particular
problems the municipality is facing, and if the municipality has to go
and deal with the hypothetical problems in the scope of the ordinance that
are not really facing the community, I don't see why that is constitutionally
It would seem that if the problems that we
have been able to identify are problems that grow specifically out of animal
sacrifice, that it is not required that the city, for example, exempt hunting
or any other particular type of problem or deal with them in the ordinances.
It's clear that animal sacrifice carries with
it very specific problems that are not attendant with the other types of
exceptions that the petitioners point to. There is no record evidence that
we have any of those particular problems, and I think that it's a question
of the classification.
QUESTION: Mr. Garrett, can I interrupt you for a moment? The
Court found specific harms to the animals. They were cruel in the way they
did it and there were some [Oral
Arguments 45] disposal problems and certain other specific
problems that they found.
He also found, as I remember it, there's a
lot of varieties of this religion. Some have more of some customs and some
have slightly different customs.
Supposing there was one branch of the religion
that required as a part of the ceremony that it be conducted in a slaughterhouse
as Justice Kennedy suggests, that it dispose of the remains in a lawful
manner, and that it had none of the side effects that trouble you, and
very properly. But you have a religion that does sacrifice animals.
Now, that religion would be prohibited by
your ordinance even if none of the side effects occurred, or were permitted
to occur by the religion, is that not correct?
MR. GARRETT: That's correct. That would be an incidental impact
of the ordinance, and we believe that that would be constitutional under
QUESTION: And the other thing that puzzles me, on the one hand
you say there are tens of thousands of these sacrifices going on regularly
and that's what prompted the ordinance, and then you say, as one very dramatic
example of a goat being found on the beach that was apparently very unattractive
and unhealthful --
QUESTION: But -- and that dramatic evidence is kind of appealing,
you have to say. But if that happens only once when there are thousands
and thousands of sacrifices, which way does the example cut?
MR. GARRETT: Well, I don't believe by giving you that one example,
which was provided to you to show --
QUESTION: And there's only one in the record, is that right?
MR. GARRETT: No, that is not true at all. There are numbers
of animals --
MR. GARRETT: That are testified to as having been placed throughout
the community. The testimony is replete with evidence of dead animals being
left in Sewell Park, being left throughout the community. There are pictures,
photographic pictures of animals --
QUESTION: Now, did those -- they violate some other neutral
statute before this ordinance was passed? I mean, there must have been
some municipal regulation against leaving carcasses around in public parks.
MR. GARRETT: Certainly, but they were ineffective. They were
obviously not accomplishing the [Oral
Arguments 47] purpose for which they were enacted, because
it's very difficult to police a situation where people go out at night
time or early in the morning with whole animals and leave them in parks,
leave them under palm trees as it's dictated under the religious tenets,
leave them at railroad crossings, leave them at the steps of courthouses
in some instances -- all of these dispersal of animal problems are problems
that are in the record, and they are not simply a single goat. That is
QUESTION: Okay, but an easier way to police them would be to
go back to the example that Justice Kennedy was working you towards to
provide some regulated place like a slaughterhouse in which the -- kind
of the core practice could occur, and yet you reject that.
MR. GARRETT: I do not reject the possibility that under 87-72,
under circumstances where there was an area zoned for slaughterhouses or
an application was made for a change in the zoning plan and the animals
were in fact consumed, that there would be a situation where constitutionally
and under the laws of the city, that would be permitted.
QUESTION: They don't want to consume them. They just want to
MR. GARRETT: Currently --
QUESTION: That's right. You still maintain [Oral
Arguments 48] that they may define the practice -- the prohibited
practice merely as sacrifice, regardless of where it might take place and
under what regulated conditions, isn't that correct?
MR. GARRETT: The way the ordinances are drafted now, sacrifice
would not be permitted in that circumstance.
QUESTION: And it's your position that that is perfectly constitutional.
MR. GARRETT: It is our position that that is constitutional.
Your Honors, the circumstance that the City
of Hialeah was facing was a very specific circumstance -- animal sacrifice,
inhumane treatment to animals. I would point out that when we talk about
putting this activity into a slaughterhouse we are not solving the claim
of petitioners that they are entitled to practice their religion as they
wish, and the reason why we are not solving that problem is because we
never got to the manner in which the sacrifices occur.
This is not ritualistic slaughter as it occurs
in kosher slaughter, for example. This is an indifferent type of killing.
The district court judge was able to conclude that this was an inhumane
type of killing because he understood that in -- for example, with respect
to a [Oral Arguments
49] four-legged animal an individual hoists it, puts it on
a table or altar, attempts to hold it down with one hand, raises a knife
in the right hand and attempts in a jabbing motion to cut the carotid arteries
in an unreliable method of killing.
QUESTION: Isn't it also the case that that same witness rejected
the State law definition of humane killing? In other words, he wishes to
impose a different standard from that which State law imposes, isn't that
MR. GARRETT: His position was that State law --
QUESTION: Well, isn't that correct?
MR. GARRETT: His position was that State did not go far enough
in being humane.
MR. GARRETT: That was his position, and he's not a lawyer, and
he wasn't rejecting it legally. His view was that that type of killing
was not as humane as he would like it to be.
But the bottom line is that this type of killing
was so unreliable, according to Dr. Fox, that you couldn't be in any way
assured that both carotid arteries would be cut, the animal, in effect,
would remain conscious for a period of time, and it wouldn't be apparent
that you hadn't cut the carotid arteries because of the blood, and [Oral
Arguments 50] so we're talking about altering the manner
in which they actually kill the animals.
QUESTION: But as I understand it, there's an exemption in the
statute so that there's killing for food, and if it's less than, I think,
35 lambs a week or 20 cattle, something like that, it's permitted.
MR. GARRETT: It is permitted, but the method of humane slaughter
is not altered by that exception. Humane slaughter must still be practiced
in killing the animals, and so simply moving this religion into a slaughterhouse
doesn't solve the problems of meeting the humane slaughter standards.
QUESTION: Well, your opponent I thought agreed that the city
could prohibit inhumane slaughtering so long as it did it across the board.
MR. GARRETT: I believe that the petitioner's claim that they
are entitled to slaughter the animals according to their religious dictates,
and that that would not be subject to the regulation that we propose and
that the State proposes with respect to humane slaughter.
QUESTION: Would this method of slaughter violate the State statute?
MR. GARRETT: Yes, it is our position that it would.
QUESTION: Has any of these people ever been [Oral
Arguments 51] prosecuted under the State statute?
MR. GARRETT: To my knowledge there have been no prosecutions
either at the State or at the local level.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Garrett.
Mr. Laycock, you have 4 minutes remaining.
REBUTTAL ARGUMENT OF DOUGLAS LAYCOCK
ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONERS
MR. LAYCOCK: The question of whether this could be done in a
slaughterhouse, the ordinances are clear, the ritual or ceremony would
be illegal in Hialeah in any kind of slaughterhouse under any kind of conditions.
The testimony --
QUESTION: Do you agree, Mr. Laycock, that the limited slaughter
that is allowed can only be allowed in a slaughterhouse?
MR. LAYCOCK: That is not correct. It can only be allowed where
properly zoned. The city attorney, Mr. Gross, testified that on the farms
in Hialeah animals are slaughtered under the limited slaughter exceptions
in the ordinances. I think it is the case that commercial slaughter is
not going on in residential or nonfarm neighborhoods.
With respect to the alleged uniqueness of
the problem, Mr. Garrett summarized the testimony of the city's expert
witness, Mr. Livingstone, about disease [Oral
Arguments 52] factors and the like, but remember, Mr.
Livingstone said repeatedly, I'm not talking about animal sacrifice at
all, I'm talking about organic garbage. He said it is no different, and
the sources of supply of organic garbage are much greater from all of the
secular food consumption in the city than they are from these sacrifices.
Now, my clients have always been willing to
accept regulation of the farms and botanicas which are not protected by
the First Amendment. They're willing to accept reasonable zoning on the
They are not willing to give up the rights of their members to
sacrifice on special occasions such as births and weddings in the homes,
but the church itself can be reasonably zoned, they're willing to comply
with disposal regulations, but none of that would satisfy the city. The
city sees a special --
QUESTION: How about humane slaughter regulations?
MR. LAYCOCK: We believe that we are in compliance with humane
slaughter. There is a neutral prohibition on torture and torment that is
not challenged. The district court did not find that --
QUESTION: Why not?
MR. LAYCOCK: Hmm?
QUESTION: Why not? Why shouldn't you be able [Oral
Arguments 53] to slaughter any way you want -- humane
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, it may --
QUESTION: If the theory of your case is correct, why -- you
know, why not go all the way?
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, because -- because we're not tormenting and
we're not torturing we don't have to go all the way. I may be back some
year with a different client who does.
MR. LAYCOCK: The testimony is the method of sacrifice is very
quick, except when it fails. The trial judge said it is somewhat unreliable
and therefore it is cruel. There is no finding of how often it is unreliable,
how often it misses. Those who are experienced in the method said they
believe they don't miss, but the intended method of sacrifice is not cruel.
QUESTION: Well, if the intended method is not cruel, could not
the city take into account that the intention just wasn't fulfilled sometimes
and it turned out to be cruel in fact?
MR. LAYCOCK: Well, perhaps they could take that into account
in a neutral and generally applicable way, but again, look at all the other
methods of killing which they permit with no regulation whatever, with
no claim that they might be -- that they have to be always [Oral
Arguments 54] instantaneous and never a mistake. No
human activity has never a mistake.
I can put poison out in my yard in Hialeah
and they don't tell me what kind. They don't say it has to be a quick-acting
poison. The animal can wander off and suffer for a week, and that's okay
with the city. That's expressly authorized in ordinance 87-40. It's only
the religion that has to be perfect if it is to exist at all inside the
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: Thank you, Mr. Laycock. The case
(Whereupon, at 11:01 a.m., the case in the above-entitled matter