Faith Events

Mar 08

Is the Supreme Court Threatening Religious Groups?

Friday, March 8 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

MSL 235

School of Law

Is the Supreme Court Threatening Religious Groups?

The First Amendment's freedoms of speech, press, religion and assembly reinforce each other.  They protect citizens from forced participation in state orthodoxy and create spaces for these citizens to generate and pursue ideas and ways of life apart from the watchful gaze of government.  They protect, among other things, a pluralistic civil society that tolerates genuine disagreement and shields private groups from the imposition of majoritarian norms.   Are these four freedoms--once heralded as the four "pillars which sustain the temple of liberty under law" --crumbling under the pressures of contemporary anti-discrimination norms?  Are "religious groups" losing the constitutional protections they once enjoyed?  Should they?  Join us on March 8 when constitutional law experts, professors John Inazu and Nelson Tebbe, debate the question "Is the Supreme Court Threatening Religious Groups?"


John Inazu, a professor of law at Washington University Law where his scholarship focuses on the First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion, and related questions of legal and political theory. His first book, Liberty's Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly (Yale University Press, 2012), seeks to recover the role of assembly in American political and constitutional thought. Professor Inazu's work is also published forthcoming in the Cornell Law Review, Hastings Law Journal, Law and Contemporary Problems, and a number of other law reviews and specialty journals. Prior to joining the law faculty, Professor Inazu was a visiting assistant professor at Duke University School of Law and a Royster Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He clerked for Judge Roger L. Wollman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and served for four years as an associate general counsel with the Department of the Air Force at the Pentagon. Professor Inazu holds a JD from Duke University School of Law and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina.

Nelson Tebbe is a professor of law at Brooklyn Law School.  He teaches courses on constitutional law, religious freedom, legal theory, and professional responsibility.  His scholarship focuses on constitutional law, and in particular, the relationship between religious traditions and legal regimes, both in the United States and abroad. His articles have appeared in Georgetown Law Journal, Journal of Religion, Michigan Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review (twice) and, most recently, the Virginia Law Review. He is immediate past Chair of the Law and Religion Section of the Association of American Law Schools and he is co-organizer of the Annual Law and Religion Roundtable. Before joining Brooklyn Law School, he taught at St. John's University School of Law, where he received a Dean's Teaching Award.  Before teaching, he clerked for Judge John M. Walker Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and practiced law at the American Civil Liberties Union and at Davis Polk & Wardwell.  He was also a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Cape Town. A graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, Professor Tebbe also holds a Ph.D. with distinction in the academic study of religion from the University of Chicago.

Moderator: Rob Vischer, Dean and Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law

Approved for an elimination of bias CLE credit.