A couple posts back I mentioned the upcoming vote concerning religious freedom in North Dakota. Christopher Dodson, the Executive Director and General Counsel for the North Dakota Catholic Conference initially commented on the piece, but has graciously allowed me to offer his comment as a stand alone post. I believe his clarification concerning what Amendment 3 does is important, especially to those who, like the Orthodox in North Dakota, find themselves in the religious minority. The following are from Mr. Dodson, to whom I am grateful:
Measure 3 would set the legal standard. Formally, that means that if someone believes their religious freedom has been unduly burdened by a law, they would seek judicial, or in some cases, administrative remedy. The court would then determine whether a burden actually exists and whether the state has a compelling interest and whether the means are narrowly tailored.
The formal process, therefore, would be no different than it is now. The only thing changed would be the standard applied by the court. Under the current standard, the person whose rights were infringed would have little chance of prevailing.
Informally, it acts as a preemption against undue infringement. That is, it presumably would make lawmakers think about not infringing on religious liberties before acting.