The Future of the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses in the Roberts Court

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June 11, 2020; 3:00 pm- 4:00 pm EDT

This is a virtual event.

Per Cornell Law School, “The Supreme Court is currently considering cases that could rework law on both the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment. Regarding free exercise, the Court has granted certiorari in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, which asks the Justices to reconsider the main precedent governing religious exemptions from general laws. There, Catholic Social Services seeks an exemption from Philadelphia’s general rule that child placement agencies cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The current rule disallows religious exemptions from general laws, but the petition for certiorari questions that rule. Regarding the Establishment Clause, the Court has already heard oral argument in Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue. The question there is whether a state is required to include religious schools in a school choice program that funnels tax dollars to private schools. Both cases raise fundamental questions about the future of the constitutional law governing “church and state” in America.”

Nelson Tebbe

Professor of Law, Cornell Law School


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