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.
Here is a retrospective list of some of our papers and activities in 2019, with links where available. A warm thanks to our readers, and best wishes for the new year!
DeGirolami, The Traditions of American Constitutional Law (forthcoming, Notre Dame Law Review 2020).
Movsesian, Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Future of Religious Freedom, 42 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 711 (2019).
DeGirolami, First Amendment Traditionalism (forthcoming, Wash. U. L. Rev. 2020).
Movsesian, The Armenian Genocide Today, First Things, November.
DeGirolami, The Sickness Unto Death of the First Amendment, 31 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 751 (2019).
Movsesian, Tertullian and the Rise of Religious Freedom, University Bookman, August.
DeGirolami, Notes on a New Fusion, Liberty Fund, July.
Movsesian, Interpreting the Bladensburg Cross Case, First Things, June.
DeGirolami, Cross Purposes, Public Discourse, June.
Movsesian, The Devout and the Nones, First Things, April.
DeGirolami, Jurisprudence as an Expression of Character, Liberty Fund, January.
Conversation with Hon. Kyle Duncan (5th Circuit) and Hon. Richard Sullivan (2d Circuit) on church-state issues at the Supreme Court.
Legal Spirits (podcast series concerning law and religion).
In spring 2019, DeGirolami was a fellow in the James Madison Program in Princeton University’s Department of Politics.
DeGirolami, Panel on Keith Whittington’s “Repugnant Laws,” James Madison Program, Princeton University, November.
Movsesian, “Church-State Relations in a Time of Scandal,” Morningside Institute, September.
Movsesian, Constitution Day Lecture, The King’s College, September.
DeGirolami, “The Supreme Court’s New Traditionalism,” Skidmore College, September.
DeGirolami, “The Constitution, the Courts, and Conservatism,” Hertog Foundation, July.
The Center for Law and Religion colonizes the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy! June.
Movsesian, “Religion and the Administrative State,” Center for the Study of the Administrative State, George Mason University, March.
DeGirolami, “Free Exercise of Religion and Free Speech,” AALS Law and Religion Conference, January.
The King’s College has posted a video of excerpts from my Constitution Day Address last month, on how cultural trends, including the rise of the Nones, will likely affect the legal debate on religious accommodations. Here’s the link:
For readers in the area, tomorrow night I’ll appear in midtown Manhattan on a panel sponsored by the Morningside Institute, “Church-State Relations in a Time of Scandal.” I’ll be discussing recent state attempts to require clergy to report suspected cases of child abuse, including cases clergy learn about through confidential spiritual counseling, and what these attempts suggest about our changing religious landscape. Details at the link. Stop by and say hello!
While Marc went north to Skidmore, I traveled to lower Manhattan today, to deliver the annual Constitution Day Address at The King’s College. Excellent questions from the students. Thanks for having me!
Next month, I’ll give the annual Constitution Day Address at The King’s College in New York, on Masterpiece Cakeshop and the future of religious freedom in the United States. Details about the event, to take place on September 19, are here. Forum readers in New York, please stop by to say hello!
In this week’s University Bookman, I have a review of Robert Louis Wilken’s new book on Christianity and religious freedom, Liberty in the Things of God. Here’s a sample:
Wilken writes lucidly and persuasively, and his basic point is correct. Religious freedom is not a concept foreign to Christian thought, and its place as a pillar of Western civilization owes much to Christian sources. Of course, one should not exaggerate. It’s fair to say that religious freedom, as it developed in the West, is one Christian approach to the question, but not the onlyChristian approach. As the examples of Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin show, there are strains in the Christian tradition that would oppose religious freedom, at least as we understand the concept today. The dualist nature of Christian politics, which insists that Christians owe duties simultaneously to God and to the state, but that Christ is Lord of all, makes easy conclusions about the Christian approach to church-state relations impossible.
The full review is available here.
For those who are interested, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy has published my article, Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Future of Religious Freedom, in the most recent issue. Here’s the abstract:
Last term, the Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop, one of several recent cases in which religious believers have sought to avoid the application of public accommodations laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Court’s decision was a narrow one that turned on unique facts and did relatively little to resolve the conflict between anti-discrimination laws and religious freedom. Yet Masterpiece Cakeshop is significant, because it reflects broad cultural and political trends that drive that conflict and shape its resolution: a deepening religious polarization between the Nones and the Traditionally Religious; an expanding conception of equality that treats social distinctions—especially religious distinctions—as illegitimate; and a growing administrative state that enforces that conception of equality in all aspects of our common life. This article explores those trends and offers three predictions for the future: conflicts like Masterpiece Cakeshop will grow more frequent and harder to resolve; the law of religious freedom will remain unsettled and deeply contested; and the judicial confirmation wars will grow even more bitter and partisan than they already have.
Readers can also download the article from the SSRN website, here.
I’m delighted to note the Center for Law and Religion edition of the latest issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. (Actually, it was entirely happenstance that one of Mark’s articles and one of my articles were published in the same issue.)
Mark’s piece is Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Future of Religious Freedom.
For our readers in the DC area, I’ll be speaking on Friday at George Mason University’s Scalia Law School, at a conference on Religion and the Administrative State. The conference is hosted by the law school’s Center for the Study of the Administrative State, whose talented and indefatigable director, Adam White, has put together a great lineup of which I am proud to be a part. I’ll be speaking (via the Web) on the Court’s decision last term in Masterpiece Cakehop, specifically, what the decision suggests about cultural and political trends in the US. The conference details are available here.