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The Constitution As Poetry, Samuel J. Levine Mar 2019

The Constitution As Poetry, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

Building upon a body of scholarship that compares constitutional interpretation to biblical and literary interpretation, and relying on an insight from a prominent nineteenth century rabbinic scholar, this Article briefly explores similarities in the interpretation of the Torah—the text of the Five Books of Moses—and the United States Constitution. Specifically, this Article draws upon Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin’s (“Netziv”) intriguing suggestion that the interpretation of the text of the Torah parallels the interpretation of poetry. According to Netziv, this parallel accounts for the practice of interpreting the Torah expansively in ways that derive substantive legal rules ...


A Critique Of Hobby Lobby And The Supreme Court's Hands-Off Approach To Religion, Samuel J. Levine Apr 2016

A Critique Of Hobby Lobby And The Supreme Court's Hands-Off Approach To Religion, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

Over the past several decades, the United States Supreme Court has demonstrated an increasing refusal to engage in a close evaluation of the religious nature of Free Exercise and Establishment Clause claims, instead deferring to adherents’ characterizations of the substance and significance of a religious practice or belief. The Supreme Court’s hands-off approach, which it has justified on both constitutional and practical grounds, has attracted considerable scholarly attention, producing a substantial and growing body of literature assessing and, at times, critiquing the Court’s approach.

Part I of this Essay provides a brief overview for analyzing the Supreme Court ...


A Critique Of Hobby Lobby And The Supreme Court's Hands-Off Approach To Religion, Samuel J. Levine Apr 2016

A Critique Of Hobby Lobby And The Supreme Court's Hands-Off Approach To Religion, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

Over the past several decades, the United States Supreme Court has demonstrated an increasing refusal to engage in a close evaluation of the religious nature of Free Exercise and Establishment Clause claims, instead deferring to adherents’ characterizations of the substance and significance of a religious practice or belief. The Supreme Court’s hands-off approach, which it has justified on both constitutional and practical grounds, has attracted considerable scholarly attention, producing a substantial and growing body of literature assessing and, at times, critiquing the Court’s approach.Part I of this Essay provides a brief overview for analyzing the Supreme Court ...


A Look At The Establishment Clause Through The Prism Of Religious Perspectives: Religious Majorities, Religious Minorities, And Nonbelievers, Samuel J. Levine Aug 2012

A Look At The Establishment Clause Through The Prism Of Religious Perspectives: Religious Majorities, Religious Minorities, And Nonbelievers, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

This article traces the Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence through several decades, examining a number of landmark cases through the prism of religious minority perspectives. In so doing, the Article aims to demonstrate the significance of religious perspectives in the development of both the doctrine and rhetoric of the Establishment Clause. The Article then turns to the current state of the Establishment Clause, expanding upon these themes through a close look at the 2004 and 2005 cases Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, Van Orden v. Perry, and McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. The article ...


Rethinking Self-Incrimination, Voluntariness, And Coercion, Through A Perspective Of Jewish Law And Legal Theory, Samuel J. Levine Mar 2012

Rethinking Self-Incrimination, Voluntariness, And Coercion, Through A Perspective Of Jewish Law And Legal Theory, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

No abstract provided.


Hosanna-Tabor And Supreme Court Precedent: An Analysis Of The Ministerial Exception In The Context Of The Supreme Court’S Hands-Off Approach To Religious Doctrine, Samuel J. Levine Nov 2011

Hosanna-Tabor And Supreme Court Precedent: An Analysis Of The Ministerial Exception In The Context Of The Supreme Court’S Hands-Off Approach To Religious Doctrine, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

The United States Supreme Court‘s review of the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in the case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC could lead to a major development in the Court‘s Religion Clause jurisprudence. On one level, Hosanna-Tabor presents important questions regarding the interrelationship between employment discrimination laws and the constitutional rights of religious organizations. The narrow issue at the center of the case is the ministerial exception, a doctrine that precludes courts from adjudicating discrimination claims arising out of disputes between religious institutions and their ministerial employees. This ...


Untold Stories Of Goldman V. Weinberger: Religious Freedom Confronts Military Uniformity, Samuel J. Levine May 2011

Untold Stories Of Goldman V. Weinberger: Religious Freedom Confronts Military Uniformity, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

In 1986, the United States Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision ruling that Air Force regulations prohibiting Simcha Goldman from wearing a yarmulke while in uniform did not violate Goldman’s First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. The Court’s majority opinion, which accepted the government’s assertion that allowing Goldman to wear a yarmulke would unduly upset important military interests, drew unusually harsh responses from both dissenting justices and legal scholars. Yet, upon closer examination, perhaps what stands out most about the events surrounding the Goldman decision is the untold story of the case, which ...


Reflections On The Constitutional Scholarship Of Charles Black: A Look Back And A Look Forward, Samuel J. Levine May 2011

Reflections On The Constitutional Scholarship Of Charles Black: A Look Back And A Look Forward, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

Charles L. Black Jr. has been one of the most important constitutional scholars in the United States for more than four decades. Professor Black's writings have helped shape the debate in a wide variety of constitutional areas, from racial equality and welfare rights to constitutional amendment, impeachment, and the death penalty. In this essay, Levine briefly surveys a number of Professor Black's articles, focusing on two areas of his scholarship: unnamed human rights and racial justice. By analyzing these two topics, which represent, respectively, Black's most recent scholarship and his most significant early work, Levine attempts to ...


Unenumerated Constitutional Rights And Unenumerated Biblical Obligations: A Preliminary Study In Comparative Hermeneutics, Samuel J. Levine May 2011

Unenumerated Constitutional Rights And Unenumerated Biblical Obligations: A Preliminary Study In Comparative Hermeneutics, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

In his 1986 Yale Law Journal article, Robert Cover wrote of an explosion of legal scholarship placing interpretation at the crux of the enterprise of law. As part of the continuing emphasis on hermeneutics in constitutional interpretation, a body of literature has emerged comparing constitutional textual analysis to Biblical hermeneutics. This scholarship has been based on the recognition that, like the Constitution, the Bible functions as an authoritative legal text that must be interpreted in order to serve as the foundation for a living community. Levine looks at a basic hermeneutic device common to both Biblical and constitutional interpretation, the ...


Miranda, Dickerson, And Jewish Legal Theory: The Constitutional Rule In A Comparative Analytical Framework, Samuel J. Levine May 2011

Miranda, Dickerson, And Jewish Legal Theory: The Constitutional Rule In A Comparative Analytical Framework, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

In this Essay, Professor Levine briefly explores Dickerson v. United States, the important 2000 decision in which a divided United States Supreme Court held that the standard established in Miranda v. Arizona continues to govern the admissibility of confessions, notwithstanding a federal statute enacted subsequent to Miranda that provided an alternative standard. Levine addresses broader theoretical implications of the approaches adopted by the majority and dissenting opinions in Dickerson. Drawing a parallel to the interpretation of the Torah in Jewish legal theory, he proposes a comparative framework for analyzing the division between the majority and dissent over the concept and ...


Jewish Legal Theory And American Constitutional Theory: Some Comparisons And Contrasts, Samuel J. Levine May 2011

Jewish Legal Theory And American Constitutional Theory: Some Comparisons And Contrasts, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

In this article, Levine explores some of the ways in which Jewish law may shed light on issues in American constitutional theory. While acknowledging that there are fundamental differences between a religious legal system and a secular one, he attempts to show that certain conceptual similarities between American law and Jewish law allow for meaningful yet cautious comparison of the two systems. Part I provides a broad historical and analytical overview of interpretation in Jewish law. Part II of the Article offers a specific conceptual framework for comparing Jewish law with American law. Levine considers questions of flexibility in legal ...


Of Inkblots And Omnisignificance: Conceptualizing Secondary And Symbolic Functions Of The Ninth Amendment, In A Comparative Hermeneutic Framework, Samuel J. Levine May 2011

Of Inkblots And Omnisignificance: Conceptualizing Secondary And Symbolic Functions Of The Ninth Amendment, In A Comparative Hermeneutic Framework, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

In this Essay, Levine focuses on a particular hermeneutic approach common to the interpretation of the Torah and the United States Constitution: a presumption against superfluity. This presumption accords to the text a considerable degree of omnisignificance, requiring that interpreters pay careful attention to every textual phrase and nuance in an effort to find its legal meaning and implications. In light of this presumption, it might be expected that normative interpretation of both the Torah and the Constitution would preclude a methodology that allows sections of the text to remain bereft of concrete legal application. In fact, however, both the ...


Rethinking The Supreme Court’S Hands-Off Approach To Questions Of Religious Practice And Belief, Samuel J. Levine May 2011

Rethinking The Supreme Court’S Hands-Off Approach To Questions Of Religious Practice And Belief, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

In recent years, the United States Supreme Court has shown an increasing unwillingness to engage in deciding matters that relate to the interpretation of religious practice and belief. While the Justices have articulated valid concerns concerning these cases, courts should not allow these concerns to deter them from making decisions vital to the effective adjudication of Free Exercise and Establishment Clause cases. In fact, it appears that as a result of the Court's increasing refusal to consider carefully the religious questions central to many cases, the Court often tends to group together religious claims and practices, regardless of the ...


Teaching Jewish Law In American Law Schools – Part Ii: An Annotated Syllabus, Samuel J. Levine May 2011

Teaching Jewish Law In American Law Schools – Part Ii: An Annotated Syllabus, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

Ordained Rabbi, and professor of law, Samuel J. Levine, presents an annotated syllabus illustrating the structure of a course in Jewish Law. The syllabus is in outline form, organized according to different stages of the course, together with annotations describing the purpose of the materials included in each section. Course sections include: An introduction to the sources and structure of Jewish law; legislation; interpretation, including ritual and civil law; issues in Jewish law that parallel issues in the American legal systems; intersections of Jewish law with other legal systems; and a modern application of Jewish law in the Israeli legal ...


Further Reflections On The Role Of Religion In Lawyering And In Life, Samuel J. Levine Feb 2011

Further Reflections On The Role Of Religion In Lawyering And In Life, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

No abstract provided.


Further Reflections On The Role Of Religion In Lawyering And In Life, Samuel J. Levine Feb 2011

Further Reflections On The Role Of Religion In Lawyering And In Life, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

No abstract provided.


Religious Symbols And Religious Garb In The Courtroom: Personal Values And Public Judgments, Samuel J. Levine Jan 2011

Religious Symbols And Religious Garb In The Courtroom: Personal Values And Public Judgments, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

As a nation that values and guarantees religious freedom, the United States is often faced with questions regarding the public display of religious symbols. Such questions have arisen in a number of Supreme Court cases, involving both Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause issues. Since 1984, the Court has considered the constitutionality of the display of religious symbols such as a creche, a menorah, and a cross in public areas. The Court has also considered the constitutionality of Air Force regulations that prohibited a clinical psychologist from wearing a yarmulke. Parallel to the Supreme Court cases, a number of federal ...


Capital Punishments And Religious Arguments: An Intermediate Approach, Samuel J. Levine Dec 2010

Capital Punishments And Religious Arguments: An Intermediate Approach, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

Determining the place and use of capital punishment in the American legal system is a challenging affair and one that is closely associated with and determined by religion's role in American legal decision-making. Both capital punishment and religion are controversial issues, and tend to challenge legal scholars and practitioners about whether they should function together or alone as valid parts of the legal system in the United States. Professor Levine argues that religious arguments should be employed to interpret and explain American legal thought when the need or proper situation arises. He uses capital punishment as an example of ...


Toward A Religious Minority Voice: A Look At Free Exercise Law Through A Religious Minority Perspective, Samuel J. Levine Dec 2010

Toward A Religious Minority Voice: A Look At Free Exercise Law Through A Religious Minority Perspective, Samuel J. Levine

Samuel J. Levine

Legal scholars have recently advanced theories emphasizing the importance of perspectives in the law. Perspective scholarship recognizes that laws are necessarily shaped by society's dominant forces, including its biases and preconceptions. Perspective scholars attempt to understand how these forces have shaped our laws, and they suggest changes to accommodate those affected by society's biases.

In this Article, Professor Levine introduces the concept of a religious minority perspective. He develops the concept of a religious minority perspective in the context of several, prominent Free Exercise cases. Professor Levine discusses these cases in his presentation of the central themes of ...