Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1797859
 


 



Fairer Still the Woodlands: Mapping the Free Exercise Forest: Review of Kent Greenawalt, Religion and the Constitution


John Witte Jr.


Emory University School of Law

2008

Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 24, pp. 551-565, 2008

Abstract:     
This Article is an appreciative review of a new masterwork on religious freedom by leading constitutional scholar, Kent Greenawalt. The book crisply summarizes the full range of founding principles of religious liberty in America – liberty of conscience, freedom of exercise, religious diversity and equality, separation of church and state, and disestablishment of religion – and calls for their proper balancing still today. It then lucidly analyzes the main American cases, statutes, and regulations that bear on the free exercise of religion. Greenawalt calls on courts to accommodate maximum expressions of religious conviction that are consistent with commitment to fairness and public welfare. He rebukes the Supreme Court’s reductionist reading of the Free Exercise Clause in Employment Division v. Smith (1990) to a guarantee of laws that are neutral and generally applicable. This new standard, still in place, fails to accommodate the need for religious accommodations and exemptions when general laws conflict with core claims of conscience and central commandments of the faith. While such accommodations of religion are now partly available through new federal and state statutes and free speech doctrines, Greenawalt urges a return to a more rigorous standard of free exercise review.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: Kent Greenawalt; First Amendment; Religious Freedom; Free Exercise of Religion; Religious Accommodation; Exemptions; Employment Division v. Smith; Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)

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Date posted: March 30, 2011 ; Last revised: October 4, 2014

Suggested Citation

Witte, John, Fairer Still the Woodlands: Mapping the Free Exercise Forest: Review of Kent Greenawalt, Religion and the Constitution (2008). Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 24, pp. 551-565, 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1797859

Contact Information

John Witte Jr. (Contact Author)
Emory University School of Law ( email )
1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-6980 (Phone)
404-712-8605 (Fax)
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