Cemetery Anarchy

Case: Warner v. City of Boca Raton, 267 F.3d 1223, 1227 (11th Cir. 2001)

Case Synopsis: Decided in 2001, Warner v. City of Boca Raton was a free exercise case tried in federal district court in the Southern District of Florida before Judge Kenneth Ryskamp. It was the first case under the Florida Religious Freedom Act. The trial concerned the Boca Raton Cemetery’s policy that memorials for graves be flush with the grass. The court inquired into whether practices of displaying “vertical” memorials constituted a religious act, and thus deserved religious freedom protection. Judge Ryskamp ruled that displaying vertical memorials was not a religious act. This case module originated int he work of Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, who discusses this case in depth in The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton, 2nd ed. forthcoming spring 2018).

Image of Boca Raton Cemetery, courtesy of Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

Sources

Excerpts of Federal, State, and Local Laws on Religious Freedom

“Appendix A: Relevant Law: Excerpts from U.S. and Florida Constitutions, RFRA, FRFRA, and Rules and Regulations of Boca Raton Cemetery,” in Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007): 161-178.

Expert Reports for Trial

“Appendix B: Expert Reports of Broyde, Katz, McGuckin, Pals, and Sullivan,” in Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007): 179-218.

Judge Ryskamp's Opinion

“Appendix C: Ryskamp Opinion,” in Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007): 220-244.

Analyses

Religious Freedom on Cemetery Grounds

Winifred Fallers Sullivan, “Cemetery Anarchy: Religion, Religious Freedom, and the Rule of Law.” Delivered 18 October 2005 at University at Buffalo Law School.

Context

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Marci A. Hamilton, “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is Unconstitutional, Period.” Journal of Constitutional Law 1.1 (1998): 1-19.

The Social Construction of Symbols

Vinay Lal, “Sikh Kirpans in California Schools: The Social Construction of Symbols, Legal Pluralism, and the Politics of Diversity.” Amerasia Journal 22:1 (1996): 57-89.

Race, Law, and Religion

Michael Graziano, “Race, the Law, and Religion in America,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion (September 2017).