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Church autonomy

Selected Works

Dispute Resolution and Arbitration

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Beit Din's Gap-Filling Function: Using Beit Din To Protect Your Client, Michael A. Helfand Dec 2013

Beit Din's Gap-Filling Function: Using Beit Din To Protect Your Client, Michael A. Helfand

Michael A Helfand

This article considers how rabbinical courts play an important gap-filling role by providing parties with a forum to adjudicate a subset of religious disputes that could not be resolved in court. Under current constitutional doctrine, civil courts cannot adjudicate disputes that turn on religious doctrine and practice. By contrast, rabbinical courts can resolve such disputes--and the decisions of rabbinical courts can then be enforced by civil courts even as those same civil courts could not resolve the dispute in the first instance. In this way, rabbinical courts--like other religious arbitration tribunals--fill a void created by constitutional law, ensuring that parties …


Religion's Footnote Four: Church Autonomy As Arbitration, Michael A. Helfand Dec 2012

Religion's Footnote Four: Church Autonomy As Arbitration, Michael A. Helfand

Michael A Helfand

While the Supreme Court’s decision in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC has been hailed as an unequivocal victory for religious liberty, the Court’s holding in footnote four – that the ministerial exception is an affirmative defense and not a jurisdictional bar – undermines decades of conventional thinking about the relationship between church and state. For some time, a wide range of scholars had conceptualized the relationship between religious institutions and civil courts as “jurisdictional” – that is, scholars converged on the view that the religion clauses deprived courts of subject-matter jurisdiction over religious claims. In turn, courts could not adjudicate religious disputes …