Movsesian at GMU This Week

 

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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.

Center Papers & Activities in 2018

Here is a retrospective list of some of our papers and activities in 2018Pen and Ink, with links where available. A warm word of gratitude to our readers, and best wishes for the new year!

Papers

DeGirolami, On the Uses of Anti-Christian Identity Politics, in “Religious Freedom, LGBT Rights, and the Prospects for Common Ground” (Robin Fretwell Wilson & William Eskridge, eds., 2018).

Movsesian, Markets and Morals: The Limits of Doux Commerce, 9 Wm. & Mary Bus. L. Rev.  449 (2018).

DeGirolami, The Sickness Unto Death of the First Amendment (forthcoming Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy).

Movsesian, Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Future of Religious Freedom, 42 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y (forthcoming)

DeGirolami (with Kevin Walsh), Conservatives, Don’t Put Too Much Hope in the Next Justice (New York Times, July).

DeGirolami (with Kevin Walsh), 2018 Supreme Court Roundup: Kennedy’s Last Term (First Things, October).

DeGirolami, The Long Tail of Legal Liberalism (reviewing Patrick Deneen, Why Liberalism Failed (2018)) (Liberty Fund Library of Law and Liberty, February)

Activities

The Tradition Project, Part III: “Tradition and the Global Clash of Values,” Rome, Italy, December.

Legal Spirits (podcast series concerning law and religion).

In spring 2018, Movsesian was a fellow in the James Madison Program in Princeton University’s Department of Politics.

Throughout the year, Movsesian blogged regularly at First Things and Law & Liberty.

Movsesian, Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture Annual Conference, Panelist, “A House Divided–Polarization in Our Common Life,” November.

Movsesian, Princeton University, Panelist, “Religious Freedom at Home and Abroad,” Madison Program Annual Conference, May.

Movsesian, Princeton University, Commentator, Conference on Law, Religion, and Complicity, University Center for Human Values, April.

Movsesian, Princeton University, Madison Program Workshop Series, The Future of Religious Freedom.

Movsesian, Colloquium on Religion and Liberalism, First Things Magazine (invited participant).

Movsesian, Columbia Law School, Guest Faculty, “Reading Group in the American Constitutional Tradition.

Movsesian, George Mason University Law School, Center for the Study of the Administrative State, The Future of Religious Freedom, March.

DeGirolami, “Higher Purposes of Free Speech,” Conference, “Higher Powers,” Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, November.

DeGirolami, Constitution Day Discussion, The King’s College, New York (with David Tubbs), September.

DeGirolami, “First Amendment Developments in the Supreme Court’s Recent Cases,” Loyola University Maryland, September.

DeGirolami, “The Sickness Unto Death of the First Amendment,” Center for the Study of the Administrative State, George Mason University School of Law, March.

Time’s Up for the Endorsement Test?

At the First Things site today, I have a post on The American Legion v. American Humanist Association, the Maryland Peace Cross case, in which the Court granted cert last month. I argue that the Court could use the opportunity to get rid of the endorsement test in Establishment Clause cases. Here’s an excerpt:

Last month, the Supreme Court agreed to consider an important Establishment Clause case from Maryland, The American Legion v. American Humanist Association. The case, which presents a challenge to a Maryland cemetery’s use of a 40-foot cross as a public war memorial, gives the Court a chance to clarify its views on the constitutionality of state-sponsored religious displays. In particular, the case provides an opportunity for the Court to do away with the so-called “endorsement test,” which holds that a display violates the Constitution if a hypothetical, reasonable observer would see it as an endorsement of religion. Conservatives have criticized the endorsement test for decades, and with a new majority on the Court, they may finally have the votes to discard it. American Legion could turn out to be one of the most significant Establishment Clause cases in a long time.

American Legion is also the subject of a recent “Legal Spirits” episode Marc and I recorded. But you have already listened to that. Right?

New Article: Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Future of Religious Freedom

I’ve posted a new article on SSRN, “Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Future of Religious Freedom.” The article, which will appear in the current volume of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, uses last term’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop as a vehicle for exploring deep trends in American culture, politics, and religion. 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.

You can download the paper here.

Movsesian on Religious Polarization

To follow on Marc’s post yesterday, here is the video of my panel presentation earlier this month’s at the annual Notre Dame Ethics and Culture Center Conference. The title of the panel, chaired by Notre Dame Law Professor (and Tradition Project member) Marah Stith McLeod, was “A House Divided–Polarization in Our Common Life,” and the subject of my talk, beginning at the 35:45 mark, was “Church and State in a Time of Polarization.” Thanks to Marah and my co-panelist, John Carr (Georgetown), and to the Notre Dame Center Director, Carter Sneed, for inviting me!

Movsesian on the Ashers Case

Bristol UniversityAt the Liberty Law site today, I have a post discussing the UK Supreme Court’s ruling this month in Lee v. Ashers Bakery, a wedding-vendor case from Belfast. The British case deals with several substantive issues that our own Supreme Court dodged earlier this year in Masterpiece Cakeshop. The British court’s president, Barbara Hale (left), wrote for a unanimous court:

Even though the issues do not line up exactly, Lady Hale’s opinion addresses many of the difficult questions that arise in the American context as well: whether denying services in connection with gay weddings is equivalent to denying services to gay persons; whether one should attribute certain kinds of commercial speech to the vendor or the customer; and whether the state’s interest in ending discrimination in public places overrides the religious convictions of persons who operate small businesses. The fight over these issues is still in its early stages, in Britain and America. This decision may provide guidance for the way forward.

Readers can find my post here.

On American Universalism

At the First Things site today, I have a review of a current exhibit, “Canova’s George Washington,” at the Frick Collection in New York. I argue that Canova’s famous statue of our first President is not a celebration of Enlightenment universalism, but an admonition against the course of empire:

In fact, the Farewell Address, which Canova depicts Washington writing, famously warned Americans against involvement in world revolution. Not only should America “steer clear of permanent alliances” with foreign countries, Washington wrote, she should have “with them as little political connection as possible.” Neutrality with respect to foreign quarrels was the best policy for America.  Why risk the new nation’s peace and prosperity by entangling it in the intrigues of the old?

The context for this warning was, of course, the French Revolution, and the campaign by Jeffersonians to commit the United States to Republican France’s war against Great Britain. Jeffersonians thought the French Revolution, with its universal Declaration of the Rights of Man—all men, everywhere, not just the French—its rationalism, and its destruction of the old regime, was a natural continuation of our own, and thus worthy of American support. But Washington had proclaimed American neutrality in the conflict. The Farewell Address was a rejection of the Jeffersonian, universalist interpretation of our Revolution, and everyone would have seen it that way at the time.

To my mind, then, Canova’s statue doesn’t suggest a celebration of universalism and progress. It suggests, instead, that Americans, like the Romans before us, are apt to stray from republican virtues in a quest for empire, and warns us against such a path.

You can read the whole review at the First Things site, here.

CLR at George Mason Next Month

 

csas-logoNext month, Marc and I will among the speakers at “Religion and the Administrative State,” a conference sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School. The Center’s Director, Adam White, has put together a very interesting set of panels, including the one on which Marc and I will speak, “The Future of the First Amendment.” The conference, scheduled for September 14, will appeal to anyone with an interest in church-state relations. For details, please check the conference announcement, here.

Kavanaugh (and Kennedy) on Church and State

Judge_Brett_KavanaughAt the Law and Liberty Blog today, I have an essay on how a Justice Kavanaugh would likely rule in church-state cases. I argue he is likely to look a lot like Justice Kennedy, the person he would replace:

It’s always difficult to predict how a nominee would rule in cases once on the Court. The best evidence is the way he has ruled as a lower court judge—and even that evidence is imperfect, since lower court judges have a greater duty than Supreme Court Justices to follow the Court’s precedents. Although he has been on the DC Circuit for a dozen years, Kavanaugh has written only two opinions on the merits in church-state cases, one on establishment and the other on free exercise. (He has written one opinion dismissing an Establishment Clause challenge on standing grounds and joined a few church-state opinions other judges have written, but those opinions are less probative). On the basis of those two opinions, I think Justice Kavanaugh would likely be a centrist conservative in the middle of the Court—a Justice remarkably like the one he would replace.

You can read the whole essay here.

Podcast: “Who Is Brett Kavanaugh?”

gs-FdUf9_400x400Last week, I sat down with First Things‘s senior editor Mark Bauerlein to discuss Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s record on church-state issues and what it might suggest about his future as a Justice. (Bottom line: he’s likely to look a lot like the person he’s replacing). You can listen to the podcast on the First Things site, here.

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