Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Protecting Religious Liberty, Part 2 [presentation]

This is my attempt at free exercise of religion in a visual nutshell.

It's from a presentation I delivered at a recent panel on Protecting Religious Liberty. The event was co-sponsored by several student organizations at Albany Law School--the Christian Legal Society, the Cardozo Legal Society, and the Muslim Law Student Association--and me.
[The entire event, including the remarks of my knowledgeable and insightful fellow panelists, as well as the Q's & A's with the audience, is available on videocast. (Link below.)]
The presentation was intended as a quick opening primer. A 20 minute overview of that fundamental freedom which is enshrined in the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and in corresponding provisions of the constitutions of the states as well.

The presentation briefly traced the genesis of freedom of religion in American law. The evolution of that freedom in landmark Supreme Court decisions interpreting and applying the 1st Amendment. The startling about-face by the modern Court that has turned the constitutional guarantee on its head, and has left the protection of religious liberty diluted, uncertain, and erratic. And finally, the ongoing aftermath of a weakened constitutional protection.

An outline of the presentation would look like this:

  • Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's struggle to protect religious freedom in Virginia
  • Early Supreme Court decisions affording little protection to the Mormons and other religious minorities
  • Subsequent Supreme Court landmarks recognizing religious liberty as a fundamental freedom, and protecting it from all restrictions except those necessary for the most compelling reasons
  • Modern Supreme Court caselaw discarding those highly protective landmarks
  • State high courts deciding whether to follow the Supreme Court's about-face or to adhere to more protective standards for religious liberty
Here is the power point accompaniment to that presentation:
(click to enlarge slide)

To view the complete slide presentation, open HERE.
(Then, for the best view, click File + Download, and Open the download.)

[The videocast of the entire event--again, including the remarks of my knowledgeable and insightful fellow panelists, as well as the Q's & A's with the audience--is accessible via this link. ( Password: Liberty2013 ) (The quality of the videocast is not very high.)]