Rethinking Religious Minorities' Political Power
66 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2014 Last revised: 11 Jun 2015
Date Written: October 15, 2014
This Article challenges the assumption that small religious groups enjoy little political power. According to the standard view, courts, because of their countermajoritarian qualities, are indispensable for protecting religious minority groups from oppression by the majority. But this assumption fails to account for the many and varied ways in which the majoritarian branches have chosen to protect and accommodate even unpopular religious minority groups, as well as the courts’ failures to do so.
The Article offers a public choice analysis to account for the surprising majoritarian reality of religious accommodationism. Further, it explores the important implications of this reality for deeply contested legal doctrines, as well as the insights it offers for recent and looming high profile cases pitting state law against religious liberty.
Keywords: law and religion, constitutional law, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, accommodationism, religion, minority groups, Free Exercise, Employment Division v. Smith, religious liberty, religious freedom, accommodation, Religious Freedom Restoration Act
JEL Classification: K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation