Tagari on Human Rights and Personal Systems of Family Law

Hadas Tagari (student at Bar-Ilan University–Faculty of Law) has posted Personal Family Law Systems – A Comparative and International Human Rights Analysis.  The abstract follows.

This article analyzes the structures and substances of personal systems of family law based on religious affiliation within their social, political and historical contexts, explores the varied ways in which they infringe on the human rights of those governed by these systems – gender equality implicated by most – and the way international law and jurisprudence of human rights respond to these challenges. This analysis wishes to suggest that looking at the specific manifestations of personal family law systems in concrete contexts illuminates significant human rights implications which have not hither to received sufficient attention in mainstream human rights discourse, for various legal, cultural and political reasons. The contexts which this article will draw on are personal family law systems in Israel, India, Lebanon and Morocco, which comprise a varied sample of family law structures and legal, cultural, social and political contexts.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012

You read the date right. In response to the new HHS regs requiring all employers, including most religiously-affiliated employers, to cover contraceptives in employee health plans, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) yesterday introduced a bill, “the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012,” that would make the regs inoperative. The bill creates what it calls “conscience protections” that would exempt employers who oppose contraception “on the basis of religious belief.” Others have introduced similar legislation. The text of Senator Rubio’s bill is here.

Haupt, “Religion-State Relations in the United States and Germany”

Conceptions of neutrality in church-state relations are increasingly important these days.  But a very interesting feature of the neutrality debates has been the plural and oftentimes incompatible conceptions of neutrality that have emerged.  Formal neutrality, for example, is quite different from (and sometimes hostile to) what preeminent church-state scholar Douglas Laycock has called “substantive neutrality.”

Alongside the splintering of the concept of neutrality into plural conceptions in this country, there is now emerging very interesting scholarship on the comparative study of neutrality.  My colleague, Mark, is doing some excellent work in this regard.  And I just was made aware of this very interesting comparative study by Claudia E. Haupt (George Washington), Religion-State Relations in the United States and Germany: The Quest for Neutrality (Cambridge UP 2012).  The publisher’s description follows.

This comparative analysis of the constitutional law of religion-state relations in the United States and Germany focuses on the principle of state neutrality. A strong emphasis on state neutrality, a notoriously ambiguous concept, is a shared feature in the constitutional jurisprudence of the US Supreme Court and the German Federal Constitutional Court, but neutrality does not have the same meaning in both systems. In Germany neutrality tends to indicate more distance between church and state, whereas the opposite is the case in the United States. Neutrality also has other meanings in both systems, making straightforward comparison more difficult than it might seem. Although the underlying trajectory of neutrality is different in both countries, the discussion of neutrality breaks down into largely parallel themes. By examining those themes in a comparative perspective, the meaning of state neutrality in religion-state relations can be delineated.