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Justice Department to boost protection of religious institutions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The Justice Department said Wednesday that it plans to increase efforts to bring civil rights suits against cities or governments that, it argues, discriminate against places of worship through overly restrictive zoning regulations.

The backdrop: The department has filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey town that blocked the permission to build a new Jewish Orthodox synagogue, denying its zoning approval. The move shows another step by the Trump administration to prioritize protecting religious freedoms.