Religious Liberty Appellate Clinic
The Religious Liberty Appellate Clinic is offered to students in fall and spring for 3 credits.
This clinical course gives a small number of students each semester the opportunity to write appellate briefs, primarily amicus curiae briefs, in cases involving religious liberty in the U.S. Supreme Court, lower federal courts, and state appellate courts. The primary clients are national civil-liberties organizations and national religious organizations. Each student should expect to draft one appellate brief and, depending on workload, other written work product. Through readings as well as practice, students will learn basic principles of religious liberty, conscience protection, and appellate writing, including intensive writing work and attention to the distinctive strategic issues in drafting effective amicus briefs.
Professor Tom Berg, the clinic's supervising attorney, is a prominent First Amendment appellate advocate who has written and filed briefs in more than 40 significant cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts. The clinic gives students an intensive experience in formulating, writing and refining appellate arguments, and in the strategy of framing arguments by amici curiae, who typically present distinctive information or issues that may benefit the judges deciding the case.
The Clinic focuses on:
- Amicus curiae appellate briefs for national organizations in significant religious-liberty cases
- Learning theory, strategy, and practice for protecting religious liberty
Briefs drafted by Religious Liberty Appellate Clinic students:
- Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns v. Mayor and City Council (Fourth Circuit)
- HART v NORTH CAROLINA Motion and Brief Amicus Curiae (Supreme Court of North Carolina)
- RICHARDSON v NORTH CAROLINA Motion and Brief Amicus Curiae (U.S. Supreme Court of North Carolina)
- Brief Amicus Curiae, Reed v. Town of Gilbert (U.S. Supreme Court)
- Freedom from Religion Foundation v. Lew (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit)
- Child Evangelism Fellowship v. Cleveland School District (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit)
- Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley
- Sterling v. United States