Catalogue 2019 - 2020

LAW 790 Religion & the Constitution



Course Description

This course examines the First Amendment's Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. The two Religion Clauses have been and continue to be a focus of extensive controversy in the legal and political arenas. The course will examine Supreme Court opinions interpreting the Religion Clauses. Topics arising under the Establishment Clause include prayer in public school classrooms, religious symbols on public property, and government funding of parochial school education. Topics arising under the Free Exercise Clause include the rights of religious objectors to be exempt from a vaccination requirement, the rights of members of religion to engage in animal sacrifice as part of a religious ritual, and the rights of employees to refuse to work on religious holy days. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. The reading material for the course has been prepared by the instructor. The specialized nature of the course subject matter allows students to gain expertise in the area by reading extensively in this one area of constitutional law rather than by surveying a variety of areas.