Religious Speech

2017 National Student Symposium - "The First Amendment in Contemporary Society"

Columbia Law School - March 3-4, 2017 Friday, March 03, 06:30 PMColumbia Law School
435 W 116th St
New York, NY 10027

The Columbia Law School Federalist Society's Student Chapter will host the 36th National Student Symposium on March 3-4, 2017. The topic of the Symposium is "The First Amendment in Contemporary Society". Additional information will be posted later this year.

The Future of Religious Liberties under the New Administration - Podcast

Religious Liberties Practice Group Podcast
Thomas C. Berg, Richard W. Garnett December 15, 2016

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.


  • Professor Thomas C. Berg, James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy, University of St. Thomas School of Law
  • Professor Richard W. Garnett, Paul J. Schierl/Fort Howard Corporation Professor and Concurrent Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame Law School

Ninth Annual Rosenkranz Debate: Hostile Environment Law and the First Amendment - Event Audio/Video

2016 National Lawyers Convention
Deborah L. Rhode, Eugene Volokh, Jennifer Walker Elrod, Eugene B. Meyer November 24, 2016

RESOLVED: Hostile Environment Law, On and Off Campus, Often Violates the First Amendment.

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.         
Grand Ballroom

  • Prof. Deborah L. Rhode, Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law; Director, Center on the Legal Profession; Director, Program in Law and Social Entrepreneurship, Stanford Law School
  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. Jennifer W. Elrod, U.S Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • Introduction: Mr. Eugene B. Meyer, President, The Federalist Society

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) the Future of Religious Liberty? - Event Audio/Video

2016 National Lawyers Convention
John C. Eastman, Richard W. Garnett, William P. Marshall, Vincent Phillip Munoz, Michael Uhlmann, William L. Saunders November 23, 2016

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. 
State Room

  • Dr. John C. Eastman, Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service, Chapman University Fowler School of Law; Senior Fellow, The Claremont Institute
  • Prof. Richard W. Garnett, Paul J. Schierl/Fort Howard Corporation Professor, Concurrent Professor of Political Science, Notre Dame Law School
  • Prof. William P. Marshall, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Prof. Vincent Phillip Muñoz, Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion & Public Life, University of Notre Dame
  • Moderator: Prof. Michael M. Uhlmann, Professor of Politics and Policy/SPE, Claremont Graduate University
  • Introduction: Mr. William L. Saunders, Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs and Senior Counsel, Americans United for Life

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC