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A Hands-Off Approach To Religious Doctrine: What Are We Talking About?, Richard W. Garnett Nov 2013

A Hands-Off Approach To Religious Doctrine: What Are We Talking About?, Richard W. Garnett

Richard W Garnett

At the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Schools, the program organized by the Section on Law and Religion presented for consideration the claim that “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.” The Court, it was proposed, is — more and more — taking a “hands-off approach to religious doctrine.”

This proposal was, and remains, timely and important, as is illustrated by — to mention just a few, diverse examples — the ongoing property-ownership dispute between several “breakaway” Episcopal …


The Political (And Other) Safeguards Of Religious Freedom, Richard W. Garnett Nov 2013

The Political (And Other) Safeguards Of Religious Freedom, Richard W. Garnett

Richard W Garnett

This essay is a contribution to a symposium marking the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s still-controversial decision in Employment Division v. Smith. That decision, it is suggested, should not be read as reflecting or requiring hostility or indifference towards claims for legislatively enacted accommodations of religion. Smith is not an endorsement of religion-blind neutrality in constitutional law; instead, it assigns to politically accountable actors the difficult, but crucially important, task of accommodating those whose religious exercise would otherwise be burdened by generally applicable laws. The essay goes on to suggest several things that must be true of our law …


Assimilation, Toleration, And The State's Interest In The Development Of Religious Doctrine, Richard Garnett Nov 2013

Assimilation, Toleration, And The State's Interest In The Development Of Religious Doctrine, Richard Garnett

Richard W Garnett

Thirty-five years ago, in the context of a church-property dispute, Justice William Brennan observed that government interpretation of religious doctrine and judicial intervention in religious disputes are undesirable, because when civil courts undertake to resolve [doctrinal] controversies..., the hazards are ever present of inhibiting the free development of religious doctrine and of implicating secular interests in matters of purely ecclesiastical concern. This statement, at first, seems wise and fittingly cautious, even unremarkable and obvious. On examination, though, it turns out to be intriguing, elusive, and misleading. Indeed, Justice Brennan's warning presents hazards of its own, and its premises - if …


Standing, Spending, And Separation: How The No-Establishment Rule Does (And Does Not) Protect Conscience, Richard W. Garnett Nov 2013

Standing, Spending, And Separation: How The No-Establishment Rule Does (And Does Not) Protect Conscience, Richard W. Garnett

Richard W Garnett

The First Amendment’s “Establishment Clause” is widely thought to protect “conscience.” Does it? If so, how? It is proposed in this paper that the no-establishment rule does indeed promote and protect religious liberty, and does safeguard conscience, but not (or, at least, not only) in the way most people think it does, namely, by sparing those who object from the asserted injury to their conscience caused by public funding of religious activity. The Supreme Court’s decision in Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation - a case in which the Justices limited taxpayer standing to bring Establishment Clause claims - reminds …


Religious Freedom, Church Autonomy, And Constitutionalism, Richard W. Garnett Nov 2013

Religious Freedom, Church Autonomy, And Constitutionalism, Richard W. Garnett

Richard W Garnett

No abstract provided.