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Adjudicating Religious Sincerity, Nathan Chapman Jan 2017

Adjudicating Religious Sincerity, Nathan Chapman

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Recent disputes about the “contraception mandate” under the Affordable Care Act and about the provision of goods and services for same-sex weddings have drawn attention to the law of religious accommodations. So far, however, one of the requirements of a religious accommodation claim has escaped sustained scholarly attention: a claimant must be sincere. Historically, scholars have contested this requirement on the ground that adjudicating religious sincerity requires government officials to delve too deeply into religious questions, something the Establishment Clause forbids. Until recently, however, the doctrine was fairly clear: though the government may not evaluate the objective accuracy or plausibility ...


Why Some Religious Accommodations For Mandatory Vaccinations Violate The Establishment Clause, Hillel Y. Levin Jan 2017

Why Some Religious Accommodations For Mandatory Vaccinations Violate The Establishment Clause, Hillel Y. Levin

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All states require parents to inoculate their children against deadly diseases prior to enrolling them in public schools, but the vast majority of states also allow parents to opt out on religious grounds. This religious accommodation imposes potentially grave costs on the children of non-vaccinating parents and on those who cannot be immunized. The Establishment Clause prohibits religious accommodations that impose such costs on third parties in some cases, but not in all. This presents a difficult line-drawing problem. The Supreme Court has offered little guidance, and scholars are divided.

This Article addresses the problem of religious accommodations that impose ...


A Critique Of Hobby Lobby And The Supreme Court's Hands-Off Approach To Religion, Samuel J. Levine Jan 2015

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

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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 ...


The Establishment Clause, State Action, And Town Of Greece, Nathan Chapman Jan 2015

The Establishment Clause, State Action, And Town Of Greece, Nathan Chapman

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The Establishment Clause forbids the government from engaging in the same religious exercise that the law protects when performed by a private party. Thus, an establishment case often turns on whether religious activity is "state action." Too often, however, courts ignore the state action analysis or merge it with the substantive Establishment Clause analysis. This muddles both doctrines and threatens individual religious liberty.

This Article argues that the state action doctrine should account for the government's distribution of private rights. Accordingly, the Constitution applies to the government's distribution of rights, but not to a private party's use ...


Is Prayer Constitutional At Municipal Council Meetings?, Thomas A. Schweitzer Jan 2013

Is Prayer Constitutional At Municipal Council Meetings?, Thomas A. Schweitzer

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The author discusses Galloway v. Town of Greece, a case which challenges official prayers at town council meetings. To provide the necessary background information for understanding the issues in Galloway, the author begins with a brief discussion of two other cases, Lemon v. Kurtzman and Marsh v. Chambers. The author then examines the district and circuit court decisions in Galloway and the Establishment Clause issues posed by the case. Next, the author notes issues raised by other lower court decisions involving legislative prayer after Marsh.

Towards the end of the article, to clarify and decide the constitutional issues, the author ...


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 Jan 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

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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 ...


Pleasant Grove V. Summum: Losing The Battle To Win The War, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2009

Pleasant Grove V. Summum: Losing The Battle To Win The War, Ian C. Bartrum

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This short essay explores the potential doctrinal implications of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Pleasant Grove v. Summum.


Bruce Ledewitz, American Religious Democracy: Coming To Terms With The End Of Secular Politics, Thomas A. Schweitzer Jan 2007

Bruce Ledewitz, American Religious Democracy: Coming To Terms With The End Of Secular Politics, Thomas A. Schweitzer

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No abstract provided.


The Constitutional Structure Of Disestablishment, Ian C. Bartrum Jan 2007

The Constitutional Structure Of Disestablishment, Ian C. Bartrum

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This article proceeds in the structuralist tradition, which Professor Charles Black describes as "the method of inference from the structure and relationships created by the Constitution." The article takes a structural approach to the Establishment Clause: it reexamines the theoretical foundations of disestablishment, and infers a constitutional structure designed to create a dialectical relationship between political institutions and social institutions. The structural thesis requires that our political institutions safeguard individual liberty of conscience by bracketing all religious questions. The antithesis ensures the existence of free and independent social organizations dedicated to building public virtue. The article then applies the structural ...


Brief Response To Attorney Albright's Article, Peter Brandon Bayer Jan 2003

Brief Response To Attorney Albright's Article, Peter Brandon Bayer

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This article is a brief response to another article arguing that the words “under God” do not render the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. Attorney D. Chris Allbright’s provocative plea that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is insufficiently religious to offend contemporary Establishment Clause principles rests on three wobbly premises: (1) a limited perspective of some of the Framers, one which the Supreme Court rightly has eschewed; (2) Supreme Court dicta reflecting at best certain justices’ cursory suppositions about the religiosity of the words “under God;” and, (3) the wholly irrelevant, and possibly inaccurate argument that ...


Religious Symbols And Religious Garb In The Courtroom: Personal Values And Public Judgments, Samuel J. Levine Jan 1997

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

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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 ...


Lee V. Weisman: Whither The Establishment Clause And The Lemon V. Kurtzman Three Pronged Test?, Thomas A. Schweitzer Jan 1993

Lee V. Weisman: Whither The Establishment Clause And The Lemon V. Kurtzman Three Pronged Test?, Thomas A. Schweitzer

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No abstract provided.