I had a wonderful time this morning, teaching a (virtual!) class at Lomonosov Moscow State University on the COVID epidemic and religious exemptions under the US Constitution. Thanks to Professor Gayane Davidyan for inviting me and to her students for their wonderful, thoughtful questions. Lomonsov will post the class on YouTube soon, and I’ll link it when it appears.
Professor Mark David Hall has this review of The Cambridge Companion to the First Amendment and Religious Liberty, edited by Professors Michael Breidenbach and Owen Anderson. I was pleased to contribute a chapter to the book.
The Center for Law and Religion is delighted to announce the lineup for the fifth biennial Colloquium in Law and Religion, scheduled for Fall 2020. The Colloquium brings outside scholars and jurists to St. John’s to teach a seminar for selected students. Speakers present drafts on law and religion; students are graded on the basis of response papers and class participation. The Fall 2020 Colloquium will coincide with the Center’s tenth anniversary. A celebration is planned for October.
This year’s Colloquium speakers are Judges Steven Menashi and Michael Park of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Professors Jed Atkins (Duke University); Stephanie Barclay (Brigham Young University); Paul Horwitz (University of Alabama); Amy Sepinwall (University of Pennsylvania); and Carter Snead (University of Notre Dame).
I was delighted to participate last week in this conference on “Constitutions, Peoples, and Sovereignty,” organized by Professor Jeff Pojanowski and co-sponsored by Notre Dame’s Program on Constitutional Structure and the Oxford Programme for the Foundations of Law and Constitutional Government. The conference was a day of discussion about a series of papers, one of which was my First Amendment Traditionalism.
This volume is now available for purchase, with many worthwhile and interesting contributions. I have an essay in here as well, The Two Separations.
Check it out!
Over at Public Discourse today, I have an essay that attempts to predict the outcome in Espinoza v. Montana Dep’t of Revenue, the Blaine Amendment case currently under review at SCOTUS. (Marc and I will have a new podcast about the case up shortly). Here’s a summary of the essay:
The US Supreme Court seems likely to rule in a way school-choice advocates will welcome. The Court will likely overrule the Montana court and hold a ban on scholarships for students at religiously affiliated schools unconstitutional—an important ruling, to be sure. But a sweeping opinion seems unlikely. Rather, Espinoza is shaping up to be one of those closely divided, narrow decisions that have become familiar in the Court’s Religion Clause jurisprudence.
Predicting the outcome of a case on the basis of oral argument is tricky, but I’m foolhardy enough to try. Let’s see how I do.
On February 14, the Center will co-host, along with the Journal of Catholic Legal Studies, a conference on a forthcoming book by Professors John Breen (Loyala University Chicago) and Lee Strang (University of Toledo), “A Light Unseen: A History of Catholic Legal Education.” Panelists include Deans Kathleen Boozang (Seton Hall), Marcus Cole (Notre Dame), Vincent Rougeau (Boston College), Michael Simons (St. John’s), William Treanor (Georgetown), and Robert Vischer (St. Thomas), and Professors Angela Carmella (Seton Hall), Teresa Collett (St. Thomas), Richard Garnett (Notre Dame), Jeff Pojanowski (Notre Dame), and Amy Uelmen (Georgetown). Details and registration are at this link. Hope you can join us!
I’m at Washington University in St. Louis today for a conference put together by Professor John Inazu on “The Religion Clauses.” I’ll be talking about my recent piece, First Amendment Traditionalism, which extends the arguments about traditionalism in constitutional interpretation that I first made in The Traditions of American Constitutional Law. If you happen to be in the area, please do come by and say hello, as the conference is free and open to the public.
At the Liberty Law blog this morning, I have an essay on historian Charles Laderman’s fine new book, Sharing the Burden: The Armenian Question, Humanitarian Intervention, and Anglo-American Visions of Global Order. At the turn of the 20th Century, American officials repeatedly voiced support for an independent Armenian state in Anatolia. The state was meant to compensate Armenians for the effects of genocide and offer them protection from hostile forces that surrounded them. Laderman explores why, notwithstanding the best intentions, the US Government ultimately abandoned Armenians and other persecuted Mideast Christians at the end of World War I. In my review, I explain what this history suggests for Mideast Christians today:
Congressional resolutions are very welcome, but history suggests that these Christians should not expect much more from America. Just as in the last century, despite the best intentions, America’s commitment to Christians in the Middle East today is limited: well wishes, exhortations for equality and tolerance, some humanitarian assistance—though nothing like the massive humanitarian campaign that took place in the last century and saved so many lives. Ultimately, nations act in their political and economic interests, and America does not perceive long-term interests that would justify putting at risk the large number of troops necessary to defend Mideast Christians on an ongoing basis. Many private citizens and charities continue to help Mideast Christians, thank God. But the sad lesson of Laderman’s book is this: if Christians in Syria expect the American government to do more to help them, they will find themselves on their own.
The full essay is available here.
Marc and I are delighted to announce that our two graduating student fellows, Anthony Nania ’20 and Dan Vitagliano ’20, have earned wonderful judicial clerkships for after graduation. Anthony will clerk for Chief Judge Fiore of the New York Court of Appeals from 2020-2022 and Dan will clerk for Judge Vyskocil on the Southern District of New York from 2020-2021 and then for Judge Duncan on the Fifth Circuit from 2021-2022. Congrats, guys! Full story here.