Thomas Berg.
Thomas Berg. (Liam James Doyle/University of St. Thomas)

In the News: Tom Berg on Native American Religious Freedoms Case

Tom Berg, professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, recently joined NPR to discuss a religious liberty case being decided in a California federal appeals court.

From the story:

In the West, the fate of two large mines now rests with a federal appeals court. Those mines are considered important for the country’s green energy transition. Native Americans are arguing the mines, on federal land once controlled by tribes, would destroy their sacred religious sites. ...

SIEGLER: Experts see this as an important moment as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled this term in favor of religious freedom proponents. In the Arizona case, one of the questions before the lower court appears to be whether that mine could be developed, as the industry argues, while still protecting the sacred sites. Law professor Tom Berg runs the Religious Liberty Clinic at the University of St. Thomas.

TOM BERG: It’s really one of the most important Native American religious freedom cases in years.

SIEGLER: Berg filed a brief in support of the Apaches. He says tribes may have a good case under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It says that the government can’t, quote, “substantially burdened” someone’s religious practices.

BERG: It’s not an automatic win for tribes in every case by any means, but it will push the government across the board to be very careful in taking account of serious effect on Native American practices.