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Faculty Publications

2022

Law and Society

First Amendment

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

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

Faculty Publications

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 …