Minnesota had a law (Minnesota
Charitable Solicitation Act (MCSA)) that was meant to deter fraud by making
charities register before soliciting contributions.
They also had to file annual
reports detailing their finances.
At first, the MCSA had an exemption for religious organizations,
but that was changed so that only religious organizations that received
more than 50% of their contributions from members would still remain
The idea behind the change
was that if the majority of contributors were members, they would look
out for how the money was spent. If contributors weren't members, then
the State had to step in to make sure that the money wasn't being spent
Valente and other members of
the Unification Church sued, claiming that the amended law was a violation
of the Establishment Clause of the 1st
Valente argued that this was
discriminatory because it differentiated religious organizations that got
contributions from members from those that got their contributions
The US Supreme Court found the
MCSA to be unconstitutional.
The US Supreme Court found
that the MCSA imposed a selective
burden on certain religions.
The Court found that if
there is a selective burden, then the law is suspect, and must therefore
meet strict scrutiny review.
In this case, the Court did
not find that the MCSA met the strict
scrutiny standard because it was not narrowly tailored enough.