Court Agrees to Review DOMA and Prop 8

The Court has granted cert. in Windsor, concerning the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and Perry, concerning California’s Proposition 8. The religion overtones of both cases are obvious and make them of great interest to CLR readers. Here is Adam Liptak’s coverage in the New York Times.

Egypt’s Constitution: A Return to Classical Islam?

Last week, I wrote that the constitutional struggle between Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court – a struggle that continued this week, when pro-Morsi picketers shut the court down – might represent an attempt to impose a conservative version of Islamic law in Egypt. Now that more of the draft constitution is available in English, the strategy seems even more apparent.

The draft constitution, like the Mubarak-era document it would replace, makes Sharia the primary source of legislation in Egypt. Traditionally, the SCC has had authority to determine whether laws comply with Sharia principles, and the court typically has taken a moderate, flexible approach. The draft constitution contains new provisions that could change things.

For example, one article declares, “The principles of Sharia include general evidence and foundations, rules and jurisprudence as well as sources accepted by doctrines of Sunni Islam and the majority of Muslim scholars.” It’s not entirely clear from the wording, but the reference to the majority of scholars may suggest a return to the idea of scholarly consensus that informed classical Islamic law, or fiqh. The idea is that Read more

Sunday Forum at Grace Church

For any readers who are local and free on Sunday morning: I will be giving an informal talk at Grace Church in the Village.  Here is the church’s description:

“Do religious organizations have special constitutional protection from government regulation? Professor Tebbe will explain and lead discussion on recent Supreme Court rulings on employment discrimination and challenges to the Affordable Care Act.”