RELIGIOUS FREEDOMIn East Bay Asian Local Development Corp., et al. v. State of California, Attorney General Lockyer successfully defended an action for declaratory and injunctive relief brought against the State to invalidate state law that exempts, under certain circumstances, noncommercial property owned by religious organizations from local historic landmark ordinances. Plaintiffs contended, among other things, that the relevant statutes unconstitutionally establish religion. The trial court declared these statutes unconstitutional. The case ultimately reached the California Supreme Court, where a Section deputy presented oral argument. On December 21, 2000, the Court upheld the constitutionality of the relevant statutes. The Court reasoned the Legislature may exempt religious organizations from historic landmark ordinances to avoid potential free exercise clause violations. Plaintiffs filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court, which the Court subsequently denied.