- Greg Lukianoff, F.I.R.E.
- Dean Rod Smolla, Delaware Law
In September, 2016, the United States Commission on Civil Rights released a report entitled Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties. In the report, the USCCR concluded that religious exercise is in tension with individual rights of certain subsections of the American population. It then went on to make a number of recommendations that suggest that that religious exercise must give way to civil rights protections when the two come into conflict:
This panel will first explore whether the USSCR Report is correct that there is, in fact, an irreconcilable tension between religious liberty and civil liberties. And second, if there is a conflict between religious liberty and civil liberties, the panel will debate whether the recommendation by USCCR to limit religious exemptions is the best way to navigate such conflict.
This panel was presented at the 2017 National Student Symposium on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at Columbia Law School in New York City, New York.
Panel 3: Religious Liberty after the USCCR Report
2:00 p.m. -3:45 p.m.
Jerome Greene Hall 104
Columbia Law School
New York, New York
What is ahead for religious liberties under the Trump administration? Will churches be granted a victory in Trinity Lutheran v. Pauley? Will Trump’s Justice and Education Departments continue the push for transgender rights in public schools? Professor Richard Garnett of The University of Notre Dame Law School and Professor Thomas Berg of the University of St. Thomas School of Law joined us to answer these questions and many others on religious liberties in 2017.
The Ninth Annual Rosenkranz Debate was held on November 19, 2016, during The Federalist Society's 2016 National Lawyers Convention.
Ninth Annual Rosenkranz Debate & Luncheon
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
The Mayflower Hotel
In his seminal decision in Employment Division v. Smith in 1990, Justice Antonin Scalia held that the First Amendment typically does not authorize courts to grant religious exemptions from generally applicable laws. This decision altered the 1963 Sherbert v. Verner test which had given courts the power to strike down any law that (1) if it substantially burdened religious practice, was not (2) based on a compelling government interest, and (3) narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. Rather, Scalia said that religious adherents should look to the political process for accommodation, and he consistently supported the constitutionality of such accommodations. In response to Smith, a primary means of such accommodation has been the passage of state and federal Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs), which codify the Sherbert test. However, in the wake of Obergefell v. Hodges (or Hobby Lobby), RFRAs have become the focus of intense political controversy. What do these laws actually do in practice? Are they a good idea? Would a different approach to protect religious liberty be better?
This panel was held on November 17, 2016, during the 2016 National Lawyers Convention in Washington, DC.
Religious Liberties: Is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) the Future of Religious Liberty?
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Mayflower Hotel