The Case of the Exemption Claimants: Religion, Conscience, and Identity

31 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2018

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

This quasi-essay or hypothetical case (modeled on Lon Fuller’s famous “The Case of the Speluncean Explorers”) offers a succinct presentation of a range of positions and rationales regarding the currently much-discussed issue of free exercise exemption, conspicuous among other places in the pending case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case of suggests a trajectory (discernible, I think, in American jurisprudence) in which a supposed “right” based on supposed duties to a Higher Power dissolves into a commitment to “conscience,” which in turns dissolves into a commitment to personal identity, which threatens to dissolve into … nothing.

Keywords: Constitutional law, Case of the Exemption Claimants, Religious Freedom Clause, priest-penitent privilege, Conscience, Identity, self-conception

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Smith, Steven Douglas, The Case of the Exemption Claimants: Religion, Conscience, and Identity (2018). San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 18-345. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3171176 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3171176

Steven Douglas Smith (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
619-260-7969 (Phone)
619-260-2492 (Fax)

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