Religious Liberty

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
THU 5:45 - 8:35 pm JON 6.207/208

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


This introduction to the law of Religious Liberty will begin with the historical and jurisprudential foundations of the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause.  We will then turn to the development of the doctrine in the United States, examining how and asking why the Supreme Court's analysis has evolved from beginnings of its jurisprudence until today.  We will pause to consider in depth how Employment Division v. Smith has been applied in the decades since the Supreme Court decided it.  We will also discuss the intersection of the Free Exercise Clause, the Establishment Clause, the Free Speech Clause, and the Free Association Clause.  Our course will conclude with analysis of the contemporary issues being litigated in the courts (and in particular in the Supreme Court), and we will provide some examples where students can dig more deeply into a record to develop the best arguments on both sides of actual cases.  

This is a two-credit course open to students who have already taken a Constitutional Law class.  No other prerequisite is required.  We will meet for three hours at a time; accordingly, we anticipate that we will not meet one out of three weeks (not necessarily every third week, however).  The course is graded, but students are welcome to exercise their pass-fail option if they wish.  Grades will turn on (1) participation, including reliable attendance and (2) the student's choice of a short exam or a short paper.

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

No materials required


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Important Class Changes

Date Updated
02/03/2020 Room(s) changed