Supreme Court & Religious Liberty (SD 643)


This course involves an intensive study of free exercise and establishment cases before the United States Supreme Court. Past and pending religion cases will be read and discussed. Each student will be assigned the role of a clerk to a sitting Justice on the United States Supreme Court and will be expected to read that Justice's decisions or writings in the religious liberty area. In that role as a clerk, students will be expected to write the following papers: 1. An analysis of the Justice's theory of precedent; 2. An analysis of the Justice's theory of interpretation; 3. An opinion for the Justice in a pending religious liberty case; and 4. A critique of the Justice's position in this area. The students will sit as the Court in the pending case and decide that case as if they were each representing their Justice in that case. This course qualifies for the skills requirement or Upper Level Writing Requirement (with additional drafts required) - but not both. No text will be required. Students will read the actual decisions and certain materials prepared for the course by the Professor.


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