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FACULTY DIVISION

SCOTUScast 3-16-15

On March 2, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. The first question in the case is whether Arizona’s reliance on a commission to draw up congressional districts rather than its state legislature violates the Elections Clause of the United States Constitution as well as Title 2 of the U.S. Code. The second question is whether the Arizona Legislature has standing to file suit against the commission.

To discuss the case, we have Derek Muller, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Pepperdine University School of Law.

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast

Two American Muslim professors have been targeted by ISIS for criticizing the Charlie Hebdo attacks. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has redoubled efforts to criminalize expressions of “Islamophobia” in Western nations. The most recent Intelligence Squared debate revealed heightened concern about restrictive speech codes on American campuses (e.g., the blacklisting of distinguished speakers who are labeled controversial by some people). What speech is, and what speech should be, protected in these and other contexts?

  • Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, Founder and President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
  • Nina Shea, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute
  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
Financial Services & E-Commerce Practice Group Podcast

Members of the Federalist Society’s Financial Services & E-Commerce Practice Group Executive Committee provided an update on recent important activity at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Recent developments included the results of the CFPB's arbitration study, the suspension of credit card agreement submission to the CFPB, new criticism of the CFPB's mortgage rate tool, and new payday lending rules.

  • Hon. Wayne A. Abernathy, Executive VP for Financial Institutions Policy and Regulatory Affairs, American Bankers Association
  • Prof. Todd J. Zywicki, Foundation Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
SCOTUScast 3-12-15 featuring Daniel Lyons

On January 12, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet. The question in this case is whether the Natural Gas Act, which gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission jurisdiction to regulate natural gas sales in interstate commerce for resale (wholesale sales), preempts state-law antitrust claims which challenge industry practices that directly affect the wholesale natural gas market when those claims are asserted by litigants who purchased gas in retail transactions.

To discuss the case, we have Daniel Lyons, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Boston College Law School.

Religious Liberties Practice Group Podcast

Familiar accounts of religious freedom in the United States often tell a story of visionary founders who broke from the centuries-old patterns of Christendom to establish a political arrangement committed to secular and religiously neutral government. These novel commitments were supposedly embodied in the religion clauses of the First Amendment. But this story is largely a fairytale, University of San Diego School of Law Prof. Steven D. Smith says in this incisive examination of a much-mythologized subject. He makes the case that the American achievement was not a rejection of Christian commitments but a retrieval of classic Christian ideals of freedom of the church and freedom of conscience.

In The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom, Prof. Smith maintains that the distinctive American contribution to religious freedom was not in the First Amendment, which was intended merely to preserve the political status quo in matters of religion. What was important was the commitment to open contestation between secularist and providentialist understandings of the nation which evolved over the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, far from vindicating constitutional principles, as conventional wisdom suggests, the Supreme Court imposed secular neutrality, which effectively repudiated this commitment to open contestation. Rather than upholding what was distinctively American and constitutional, these decisions subverted it. The negative consequences are visible today in the incoherence of religion clause jurisprudence and the intense culture wars in American politics. Prof. Smith was joined by Prof. John Inazu of Washington University (Saint Louis) Law School to discuss the premises, analysis, and conclusions of Prof. Smith’s book.

  • Prof. Steven D. Smith, Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law
  • John Inazu, Washington University School of Law