Sample Research Paper Prospectus


Tentative Title

An Analysis of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Lukumi Babalu Aye v. Hialeah and How the Case Fits into the Interpretation of the Practice Clause of the First Amendment Freedom of Religion Guarantee

Topic Description

Practitioners of the Yoba religion, also known as Santeria, sacrifice animals, including fowls, goats and turtles as part of their rituals, after which the sacrificed animals are consumed as food. Hialeah, Fla., officials adopted an ordinance prohibiting ritual sacrifice of animals within the city limits. The church claimed that the ordinance violated its members’ constitutional freedom of religion rights. The lower courts applied the Smith doctrine, which distinguishes between religious faith and religious conduct, to the Hialeah issue.

Purpose of Term Paper

The researcher proposes to explore and analyze literature related to issues raised before the U.S. Supreme Court in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah. In the conclusion of the paper, the researcher will attempt to identify rationales the U.S Supreme Court used in its ruling and implications of the outcome.

Value of the Study

The researcher will arrive at a clearer understanding of the guarantee of freedom of religion – particularly the difference between belief and an action based upon faith.

Bibliography of Tentative Sources


“Babalu Aye Is Not Pleased: Majoritarianism and the Erosion of Free Exercise,” 45 U. Miami L. Rev. 1061 LEXIS (May 1991).

Colson, Charles. “The Cross and the Crown.” Chapter in Kingdoms in Conflict. New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1987, 109-21.

Lawton, Kim A. “Uncle Sam v. First Church.” Christianity Today, 7 October 1991, 25-28.

Laycock, Douglas. “Summary and Synthesis: The Crisis in Religious Liberty,” 60 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 841 LEXIS (March 1992).

McConnell, Michael W. “Accommodation of Religion: An Update and a Response to the Critics,” 60 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 685 LEXIS (March 1992).

Pelieur, Matthew. “Commercial Speech Applications of the Lukumi Case.” Journal of Church and State 21 (Fall 1993): 294-99 in Advertising Law Anthology 17 (1993): 701-25.

Ward, Antonio. “Santeria Case May Affect First Amendment Rights of Journalists,” American Journalism Review 19 (January 1993): 43-48.


Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993).

Good News Club et al. v. Milford Central School, 533 U.S. 98 (2001).

Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Assn., 485 U.S. 439 (1988).

Oregon et al. v. Alfred L. Smith et al., 494 U.S. 872, (1990).