Const Law II: Religious Liberty

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
MON, TUE, WED 2:15 - 3:22 pm TNH 2.139

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location
Floating take-home exam


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. For all of its quirks, though, 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.

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

Religious Freedom & the Constitution *
Eisgruber + Sager
Harvard , edition: 2010
ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-0674045
Religion and the Constitution *
Michael W. McConnell
Aspen , edition: 2011
ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-0735507


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