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Full-Text Articles in Law

The "Nonministerial" Exception, Athanasius G. Sirilla Nov 2023

The "Nonministerial" Exception, Athanasius G. Sirilla

Notre Dame Law Review

In 2014, Charlotte Catholic High School declined to continue Lonnie Billard’s employment as a substitute drama teacher after he publicly announced, via Facebook, that he and his same-sex partner were getting civilly married. Billard sued the school in the Western District of North Carolina for unlawful employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act due to his sexual orientation. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Billard. The court first held that the high school’s actions could constitute unlawful sex discrimination in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County. The district court …


"The Arc Of The Moral Universe": Christian Eschatology And U.S. Constitutionalism, Nathan S. Chapman May 2023

"The Arc Of The Moral Universe": Christian Eschatology And U.S. Constitutionalism, Nathan S. Chapman

Notre Dame Law Review

This Essay first attempts to understand how a contested Christian doctrine found its way into constitutional law. It does so through a reverse genealogy of ideas—an archaeology, perhaps. The Essay begins by sketching how U.S. constitutionalism, in both theory and doctrine, reflects the belief that the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It then suggests that underlying this constitutional theme is a merger of two features of American civil religion: the tradition of treating the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as the central texts of a sacred canon and the belief that America …


Christians And/As Liberals?, Steven D. Smith May 2023

Christians And/As Liberals?, Steven D. Smith

Notre Dame Law Review

Christianity and liberalism were made to fit each other, like hand and glove. According to some interpretations, anyway. Liberal constitutionalism, with its commitments to freedom and equal human dignity, is the political system that reflects and embodies Christian commitments; and the constitutional legal order that accompanies liberalism, centrally including legally enforced rights of religious freedom, is the mode of government that best permits Christians to live in accordance with their faith in a fallen and deviant world. Thus, a couple of decades ago, Robert Kraynak reported that “[a]lmost all churches and theologians now believe that the form of government most …


"It Is Tash Whom He Serves": Deneen And Vermeule On Liberalism, Andrew Koppelman May 2023

"It Is Tash Whom He Serves": Deneen And Vermeule On Liberalism, Andrew Koppelman

Notre Dame Law Review

I worry that some recent Christian criticisms of liberalism are the kind of fantasy that Murdoch warned about, caricaturing what they purport to oppose. They are also ominously vague about what would replace it. Both writers echo earlier Christian flirtations with Marxism: philosophical errors lead idealists to gullibly embrace authoritarian kleptocrats who do not give a damn about the people the idealists are trying to help.

I will focus on the work of Patrick Deneen, with some reference to the more abbreviated but similar critiques of liberalism by Adrian Vermeule. Both claim that liberalism’s relentless logic tends to destroy communities …


Catholic Liberalism And The Liberal Tradition, Kathleen A. Brady May 2023

Catholic Liberalism And The Liberal Tradition, Kathleen A. Brady

Notre Dame Law Review

Criticisms of liberalism are nothing new. All political traditions have their detractors, and as in the past, today’s critics of liberalism include those on the left and right as well as religious believers and those without religious affiliations. However, in very recent years, far-reaching and deepening critiques have been emerging from an unlikely source. Throughout American history, the nation’s religious communities have been among the strongest defenders of religious freedom as well as other fundamental liberal values such as limited government, democratic institutions, civic equality, and other civil freedoms. Conservative Christians have been no exception. With other Americans, they have …


Natural Law, Parental Rights, And The Defense Of "Liberal" Limits On Government: An Analysis Of The Mortara Case And Its Contemporary Parallels, Melissa Moschella May 2023

Natural Law, Parental Rights, And The Defense Of "Liberal" Limits On Government: An Analysis Of The Mortara Case And Its Contemporary Parallels, Melissa Moschella

Notre Dame Law Review

This Article explores parallels between integralists’ defense of the Mortara case (in which Pius IX removed a child from his parents’ care in order to provide him with a Catholic education) and contemporary progressive arguments for overriding the authority of parents who do not want their gender-dysphoric children to undergo social or medical gender transition. In Part I, I offer an overview of the natural law case for limited government, then in Part II I turn more specifically to a natural law defense of parental rights as an essential aspect of limited government. In the following Part, I return to …


The Primacy Of Free Exercise In Public-Employee Religious Speech, Nicholas J. Grandpre May 2023

The Primacy Of Free Exercise In Public-Employee Religious Speech, Nicholas J. Grandpre

Notre Dame Law Review

This Note addresses the question left open by the Court and highlighted by Justice Thomas: under what standard of review should courts review public-employee religious expression protected by both the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses? This Note begins by introducing the doctrine of government-employee speech. Then, this Note surveys proposals within existing scholarship that address how courts ought to treat public-employee religious expression. In doing so, this Note evaluates the following proposals: (1) applying Pickering balancing as is; (2) applying a modified version of Pickering balancing; (3) replacing Pickering balancing with intermediate scrutiny; (4) the Holmesian approach: deeming public-employee …


The Limits Of Church Autonomy, Lael Weinberger Mar 2023

The Limits Of Church Autonomy, Lael Weinberger

Notre Dame Law Review

American courts apply “church autonomy doctrine” to protect the self-governance of religious institutions, based on both of the First Amendment’s religion clauses. Church autonomy’s defenders have sometimes described the doctrine as establishing distinct spheres of sovereignty for church and state. But critics have argued that church autonomy puts religious institutions above the law. They contend that church autonomy doctrine lacks limiting principles and worry that the “sphere sovereignty” theory of church and state leaves no room for accountability for wrongdoing in religious institutions. The courts, for their part, have recognized that church autonomy must have limits but have struggled to …


Religious Liberty And Judicial Deference, Mark L. Rienzi Nov 2022

Religious Liberty And Judicial Deference, Mark L. Rienzi

Notre Dame Law Review

Many of the Supreme Court’s most tragic failures to protect constitutional rights—cases like Plessy v. Ferguson, Buck v. Bell, and Korematsu v. United States—share a common approach: an almost insuperable judicial deference to the elected branches of government. In the modern era, this approach is often called “Thayerism,” after James Bradley Thayer, a nineteenth-century proponent of the notion that courts should not invalidate actions of the legislature as unconstitutional unless they were clearly irrational. Versions of Thayerism have been around for centuries, predating Thayer himself.

The Supreme Court took a decidedly Thayerian approach to the First Amendment …


Whose Secularism? Which Laïcité? Negotiating Transnational And National Constitutionalism In Kosovo, Thomas J. Hellenbrand Apr 2022

Whose Secularism? Which Laïcité? Negotiating Transnational And National Constitutionalism In Kosovo, Thomas J. Hellenbrand

Notre Dame Law Review

This Note will proceed as follows: Part I will set the stage and briefly outline the history of Kosovo and its current political status. Part II will then introduce the Kosovo Constitution and the process by which international agreements (such as the European Convention of Human Rights) were embedded in the text and made binding legal authority. It will show that, although the international agreements are binding, the Kosovo Constitution does not make international case law obligatory. Part III will then address different foundational documents drafted in anticipation of Kosovo’s statehood and how judicial and administrative institutions should apply them …


Establishment’S Political Priority To Free Exercise, Marc O. Degirolami Apr 2022

Establishment’S Political Priority To Free Exercise, Marc O. Degirolami

Notre Dame Law Review

Americans are beset by disagreement about the First Amendment. Progressive scholars are attacking the venerable liberal view that First Amendment rights must not be constricted to secure communal, political benefits. To prioritize free speech rights, they say, reflects an unjust inflation of individual interest over our common political commitments. These disagreements afflict the Religion Clauses as well. Critics claim that religious exemption has become more important than the values of disestablishment that define the polity. Free exercise exemption, they argue, has subordinated establishment.

This Article contests these views. The fundamental rules and norms constituting the political regime—what the Article calls …


Taking Justification Seriously: Proportionality, Strict Scrutiny, And The Substance Of Religious Liberty, Stephanie H. Barclay, Justin Collings Jan 2022

Taking Justification Seriously: Proportionality, Strict Scrutiny, And The Substance Of Religious Liberty, Stephanie H. Barclay, Justin Collings

Journal Articles

Last term, five Justices on the Supreme Court flirted with the possibility of revisiting the Court’s First Amendment test for when governments must provide an exemption to a religious objector. But Justice Barrett raised an obvious, yet all-important question: If the received test were to be revised, what new test should take its place? The competing interests behind this question have be-come even more acute in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a moment rife with lofty rhetoric about religious liberty but riven by fierce debates about what it means in practice, this Article revisits a fundamental question common to …


Incidental Burdens On First Amendment Freedoms, Charles F. Capps May 2021

Incidental Burdens On First Amendment Freedoms, Charles F. Capps

Notre Dame Law Review Reflection

The Supreme Court is currently reconsidering the question when, if ever, the Free Exercise Clause requires exemptions to neutral laws of general applicability. This Essay proposes an answer that is based on the idea—which this Essay labels the “Principle of Consistency”—that the First Amendment requires comparable levels of protection for speech and religious exercise. Other scholars applying the Principle of Consistency have discussed the implications of United States v. O’Brien, which prescribed intermediate scrutiny for incidental burdens on speech, for the problem of exemptions under the Free Exercise Clause. But no one has discussed the implications of two lines …


Sex Offenders And The Free Exercise Of Religion, Christopher C. Lund Jan 2021

Sex Offenders And The Free Exercise Of Religion, Christopher C. Lund

Notre Dame Law Review

In a variety of ways, sex offenders in the United States find themselves in a difficult position. One of the lesser-known ways relates to the free exercise of religion. Sometimes by categorical statute, and sometimes by individualized parole, probation, or supervised-release condition, sex offenders can find themselves legally barred from places where children are present (or likely to be present). Because children are usually present at religious services, sex offenders can find themselves unable to attend them altogether. And this hardship has a bit of irony in it too. Back in prison, sex offenders could worship freely with others; now …


What Is Caesar's, What Is God's: Fundamental Public Policy For Churches, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer, Zachary B. Pohlman Jan 2021

What Is Caesar's, What Is God's: Fundamental Public Policy For Churches, Lloyd Histoshi Mayer, Zachary B. Pohlman

Journal Articles

Bob Jones University v. United States is both a highly debated Supreme Court decision and a rarely applied one. Its recognition of a contrary to fundamental public policy doctrine that could cause an otherwise tax-exempt organization to lose its favorable federal tax status remains highly controversial, although the Court has shown no inclination to revisit the case and Congress has shown no desire to change the underlying statutes to alter the case’s result. That lack of action may be in part because the IRS applies the decision in relatively rare and narrow circumstances.

The mention of the decision during oral …


Rethinking Protections For Indigenous Sacred Sites, Stephanie H. Barclay, Michalyn Steele Jan 2021

Rethinking Protections For Indigenous Sacred Sites, Stephanie H. Barclay, Michalyn Steele

Journal Articles

Meaningful access to sacred sites is among the most important principles to the religious exercise of Indigenous peoples, yet tribes have been repeatedly thwarted by the federal government in their efforts to vindicate this practice of their religion. The colonial, state, and federal governments of this Nation have been desecrating and destroying Native American sacred sites since before the Republic was formed. Unfortunately, the callous destruction of Indigenous sacred sites is not just a troubling relic of the past. Rather, the threat to sacred sites and cultural resources continues today in the form of spoliation from development, as well as …


Forgotten Federal-Missionary Partnerships: New Light On The Establishment Clause, Nathan S. Chapman Dec 2020

Forgotten Federal-Missionary Partnerships: New Light On The Establishment Clause, Nathan S. Chapman

Notre Dame Law Review

Americans have long debated whether the Establishment Clause permits the government to support education that includes religious instruction. Current doctrine permits states to do so by providing vouchers for private schools on a religiously neutral basis. Unlike most Establishment Clause doctrines, however, the Supreme Court did not build this one on a historical foundation. Rather, in cases from Everson v. Board of Education (1947) to Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue (2020), opponents of religious-school funding have claimed American history supports a strict rule of no-aid.

Yet the Court and scholars have largely ignored a practice that casts light on …


The Historical Origins Of Judicial Religious Exemptions, Stephanie H. Barclay Nov 2020

The Historical Origins Of Judicial Religious Exemptions, Stephanie H. Barclay

Notre Dame Law Review

The Supreme Court has recently expressed a renewed interest in the question of when the Free Exercise Clause requires exemptions from generally applicable laws. While scholars have vigorously debated what the historical evidence has to say about this question, the conventional wisdom holds that judicially created exemptions would have been a new or extraordinary means of protecting religious exercise—a sea change in the American approach to judicial review when compared to the English common law.

This Article, however, questions that assumption and looks at this question from a broader perspective. When one views judicial decisions through the lens of equitable …


Fruit Of The Poisonous Lemon Tree: How The Supreme Court Created Offended-Observer Standing, And Why It's Time For It To Go, Joseph C. Davis, Nicholas R. Reaves Sep 2020

Fruit Of The Poisonous Lemon Tree: How The Supreme Court Created Offended-Observer Standing, And Why It's Time For It To Go, Joseph C. Davis, Nicholas R. Reaves

Notre Dame Law Review Reflection

Can individuals who observe what they consider to be offensive government speech or conduct sue to stop it? Typically not—absent additional evidence of a direct and particularized injury. Yet in one area of the law, the fundamental requirements of Article III (limiting federal standing to actual “cases” or “controversies”) are relaxed: the Establishment Clause. At least ten circuits have held that the mere observation of a display containing religious content (the Ten Commandments, a cross, a menorah, and the like) on public property suffices to create an injury-in-fact that opens the doors to federal court.

This Essay addresses the continued …


A Different Kind Of Prisoner's Dilemma: The Right To The Free Exercise Of Religion For Incarcerated Persons, Daniel T. Judge Jun 2020

A Different Kind Of Prisoner's Dilemma: The Right To The Free Exercise Of Religion For Incarcerated Persons, Daniel T. Judge

Notre Dame Law Review

Part I will lay the foundation for the constitutional right to freedom of religion in the United States. It will explain how the Framers understood the right in the lead up to, and at the time of, the ratification of the Free Exercise Clause as part of the Bill of Rights. Part I will also address more modern advances in religious liberty protections for prisoners before discussing two recent milestones: the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and the Supreme Court’s decision in Holt v. Hobbs. Part II addresses the right to freedom of religion internationally. It begins …


"Of Substantial Religious Importance": A Case For A Deferential Approach To The Ministerial Exception, Allison H. Pope Jun 2020

"Of Substantial Religious Importance": A Case For A Deferential Approach To The Ministerial Exception, Allison H. Pope

Notre Dame Law Review

This Note argues that, in order to remain consistent with the Religion Clauses’ protection of religious autonomy, civil courts must defer to the religious group’s determination of which of its employees play a role “of substantial religious importance” within the organization in carrying out its religious mission under its tenets, and are therefore “ministers,” rather than investigate and make that determination themselves. Part I provides background information on the First Amendment and an overview of the circuit court and Supreme Court decisions that laid the foundation for, built, adopted, and applied the ministerial exception as described in Hosanna-Tabor. Part …


An Economic Approach To Religious Exemptions, Stephanie H. Barclay Jan 2020

An Economic Approach To Religious Exemptions, Stephanie H. Barclay

Journal Articles

Externalities caused by religious exemptions have been getting the spotlight again in light a case the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this term: Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. Some argue that religious individuals should be required to internalize the costs they impose on third parties and thus should be denied the right to practice that harmful behavior. These new progressive theories about harm trade on rhetoric and normative intuitions regarding externalities and costs. But curiously, these theories also largely ignore an influential theoretical movement that has studied externalities and costs for the last fifty years: law and economics.

This Article …


Untangling Entanglement, Stephanie H. Barclay Jan 2020

Untangling Entanglement, Stephanie H. Barclay

Journal Articles

The Court has increasingly signaled its interest in taking a more historical approach to the Establishment Clause. And in its recent American Legion decision, the Supreme Court strongly suggested that the three-prong Lemon test is essentially dead letter. Such a result would make sense for the first two prongs of the Lemon test about secular purpose and the effects. Many scholars have observed that these aspects of the prong are judicial creations far afield of the Establishment Clause history. But what of the entanglement prong of the test? If we rejected all applications of this prong of the analysis, would …


The Future Of State Blaine Amendments In Light Of Trinity Lutheran: Strengthening The Nondiscrimination Argument, Margo A. Borders Aug 2018

The Future Of State Blaine Amendments In Light Of Trinity Lutheran: Strengthening The Nondiscrimination Argument, Margo A. Borders

Notre Dame Law Review

In Part I, this Note will examine a brief history of the proposed federal Blaine Amendment, and the subsequent adoption of many State Blaines across the nation. Next, in Part II, the Note will discuss why the State Blaines are frequently debated, specifically in the context of the issue of school choice. The Note will then examine two of the main arguments against the constitutionality of State Blaines—the animus arguments and the First Amendment arguments—and will examine the strengths and weaknesses of each argument. In Part III, the Note will discuss the culmination of recent caselaw in the Trinity Lutheran …


Employment Division V. Smith And State Free Exercise Protections: Should State Courts Feel Obligated To Apply The Federal Standard In Adjudicating Alleged Violations Of Their State Free Exercise Clauses?, Matthew Linnabary May 2018

Employment Division V. Smith And State Free Exercise Protections: Should State Courts Feel Obligated To Apply The Federal Standard In Adjudicating Alleged Violations Of Their State Free Exercise Clauses?, Matthew Linnabary

Notre Dame Law Review Reflection

State courts should feel free to apply whatever test is most appropriate based on the textual provisions of their state constitution that protects the free exercise or worship of its citizens. Of course, such freedom to the state courts is greatly limited in many states by the passage of their own Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. These acts generally set forth precisely how the courts must determine whether or not a law violates the free exercise or worship of a claimant. Even if not limited by a RFRA—which would generally require strict scrutiny—a state court should apply strict scrutiny to violations …


Islam And Religious Freedom: The Experience Of Religious Majorities And Minorities, Brett G. Scharffs May 2018

Islam And Religious Freedom: The Experience Of Religious Majorities And Minorities, Brett G. Scharffs

Notre Dame Law Review Reflection

It seems likely that change in Islam will be affected both by outside and internal sources, as was the case for the Catholic Church and its journey to Dignitatis Humanae. However, one thing the Catholic experience suggests is that meaningful and profound change does not simply come from outside pressures; it comes from authentic and sincere evaluation and interpretation by insiders of a religious tradition of that tradition itself. Thus, if Islam is going to come to embrace religious freedom as an important value, this will be the result, significantly if not primarily, of Muslims interpreting their own sacred …


How Would The European Court Of Human Rights Decide Holt V. Hobbs?, Francesca M. Genova May 2018

How Would The European Court Of Human Rights Decide Holt V. Hobbs?, Francesca M. Genova

Notre Dame Law Review Reflection

This Essay inquires: How would the ECtHR decide Holt v. Hobbs, given the same evidence provided at the district court level and the reasoning of the court of appeals? Analyzing this case through the ECtHR’s lens will elucidate the implications of the proportionality test in American jurisprudence. To do so, Part I will compare the two jurisdictions. Part II will summarize Holt v. Hobbs. Part III will describe the ECtHR’s relevant recent free exercise jurisprudence. Part IV will discuss how, based on this analysis, the ECtHR could decide Holt v. Hobbs in light of its overarching principles. Finally, …


There Is A Place For Muslims In America: On Different Understandings Of Neutrality, Mark A. Goldfelder Apr 2018

There Is A Place For Muslims In America: On Different Understandings Of Neutrality, Mark A. Goldfelder

Notre Dame Law Review Reflection

American neutrality is not about the government making sure religion is not visible or even treated benevolently. The American concept of neutrality just means that the government should not treat religion as special, for better or for worse, simply because it is religion. For example, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that laws touching religion must have a valid secular purpose, and not serve primarily to advance or inhibit religion. But that does not mean that religion should not be respected. The key to the American conception of religious neutrality lies in the understanding that religion is valuable—despite what strict …


The Vatican View On Sport At The Service Of Humanity, Ed Edmonds Feb 2018

The Vatican View On Sport At The Service Of Humanity, Ed Edmonds

Notre Dame Journal of International & Comparative Law

Participation in sport, particularly the opportunity for children to enjoy and learn through play, is a human right and strongly supported by the goals of Catholic social teaching and the efforts of the Olympic Movement and the United Nations. On October 5-6, 2016, the Vatican held the Sport at the Service of Humanity Conference, the first global conference on sport and faith, an initiative promoted by Pope Francis and supported by the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations. This essay focuses on the conference, its vision and goals, and a challenge to use sport to advance human development and …


The Vatican View On Sport At The Service Of Humanity, Ed Edmonds Jan 2018

The Vatican View On Sport At The Service Of Humanity, Ed Edmonds

Journal Articles

Participation in sport, particularly the opportunity for children to enjoy and learn through play, is a human right and strongly supported by the goals of Catholic social teaching and the efforts of the Olympic Movement and the United Nations. On October 5-6, 2016, the Vatican held the Sport at the Service of Humanity Conference, the first global conference on sport and faith, an initiative promoted by Pope Francis and supported by the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations. This essay focuses on the conference, its vision and goals, and a challenge to use sport to advance human development and …