As President Clinton observed, “religious freedom is . . . our first freedom.” It was central to the Founders’ vision for the American political community. They did not always agree about what religious freedom means or requires, but they knew that it matters, and that it should be respected in policy and protected by law. James Madison, the Father of our Constitution, hoped that America’s religious-liberty experiment “promised a lustre to our country.” This lecture will take stock of this experiment and consider the rights of religious believers and institutions and their roles and voices in American public life today.
Co-sponsored by the Catholic Lawyers Guild
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Richard Garnett is Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Professor of Law and Concurrent Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame Law School. A graduate of Duke University and Yale Law School, Garnett has been visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School, Northwestern Law School and other institutions. In 1996-1997, he served as clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist. His work focuses on the freedoms of speech, association, and religion, and on constitutional law more generally. He is working on a research project entitled Two There Are: Understanding the Separation of Church and State. A regular contributor to national print and broadcast media, he writes for several law-related blogs, including “Mirror of Justice,” “PrawfsBlawg,” and “Law, Religion, and Ethics.”