This course will address the treatment of religion and religious beliefs under various clauses of the First Amendment. We will primarily examine the “separation of church and state” doctrine under the Establishment Clause and explore the increasing tolerance for religious expressions in public life under recent decisions of the Supreme Court. We will also examine how the assertion of religious rights under the Free Exercise and the Freedom of Speech Clauses is impacting the application of various laws, such as nondiscrimination laws (e.g., Masterpiece Cake Shop) and regulation of corporate entities (e.g., Hobby Lobby).
GROUP LEADER: John S. Ross, III holds degrees from Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law and served as Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington & Lee University. He has taught a number of courses in the WISE Program on constitutional law topics.
REQUIRED BOOK: Divided by God: America’s Church-State Problem—And What We Should Do About It, Noah Feldman (2006) ISBN-13: 978-0-374-53038-9
Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE)
Assumption College, 500 Salisbury Street, Worcester MA 01609