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Spring 2022 Reading Group

Religious Institutions and the Religion Clauses

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

Over the last decade, most of the Supreme Court’s high-profile cases about religious liberty involved religious institutions, from church employment decisions in Hosanna Tabor, to corporate conscience in Hobby Lobby, to religious social services in Fulton. Yet for many years, the paradigmatic religious liberty case involved an individual seeking to follow the dictates of individual conscience. The rise of institutions as the key actors, rather than conscientious individuals, struck some observers as a marked shift in the court’s jurisprudence. Others thought that this was a return to basics. This reading group will sample from the debate about religious institutions and religious liberty: What is driving the institutional turn? What is a religious institution? How does the institutional turn fit with (or upset) prior assumptions about the Constitution’s religion clauses?

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: 1/24, 2/7, 2/21, 3/7, 3/28, and 4/11.