Gerber on Religious Freedom in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is celebrating the 350th anniversary of its royal colonial charterRhode Island Seal this year. The occasion reminds me of one of my all-time favorite cases in constitutional law, Luther v. Borden, in which the struggle over the representative failings of the charter and all of the attendant political intrigue so typical of the Ocean State was deemed nonjusticiable by the Supreme Court. There aren’t too many Guarantee Clause controversies any longer, but you can still spot one every so often. As my former boss, Judge William E. Smith, put it to me: “Not much has changed around here since then.”

Have a look at this interesting short piece by Professor Scott Gerber (another law clerk veteran of the US District Court for DRI) discussing religious freedom in Rhode Island. Particularly interesting are Prof. Gerber’s points about Rhode Island’s complicated history and the distinction between “liberty and license.”

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