Const Law II: Religious Liberty

Our Constitution does not include a single reference to God, yet devotes more attention to religious liberty than to any liberty-bearing feature of our constitutional commitments. And our constitutional tradition is marked by a number of provocative circumstances: An example is the rule of Sherbert v. Verner, which purported to give religiously-motivated persons a right to disregard legal impediments to their projects except when the laws in questions were justified by a compelling state interest; but Sherbert -- in the 27 years that it was nominally the governing rule -- was invoked successfully in only four cases, three of which involved state unemployment benefits. Trying to understand the nature of religious liberty is especially important just now, when conflicts between equal rights, and claims of the religiously committed are frequent and heated. For all of this, our constitutional tradition of religious liberty is robust, detailed and attractive -- probably the most so of any in the world. In this class we will seek a critical understanding of religious liberty -- primarily in our federal constitutional tradition, but with reference as well to state statutory and constitutional law, and to reflective experience elsewhere in the world.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Monday, Tuesday 3:45 - 5:35 pm JON 5.206/7
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Not Allowed
Will use floating mean GPA if applicable


  • Religious Freedom & the Constitution - Eisgruber + Sager
      Harvard , edition: 2010
      ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-0674045   (required)