Religion and the Constitution


Course Description

LAW 790-03 Religion & the Constitution (3 credits)

This course examines the First Amendment's Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. The two Religion Clauses have been and continue to be a focus of extensive controversy in the legal and political arenas. The course will examine Supreme Court opinions interpreting the Religion Clauses. Topics arising under the Establishment Clause include prayer in public school classrooms, religious symbols on public property, and government funding of parochial school education. Topics arising under the Free Exercise Clause include the rights of religious objectors to be exempt from a vaccination requirement, the rights of members of a religion to engage in animal sacrifice as part of a religious ritual, and the rights of employees to refuse to work on religious holy days. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses.

The reading material for the course has been prepared by the instructor. The specialized nature of the course subject matter allows students to gain expertise in the area by reading extensively in this one area of constitutional law rather than by surveying a variety of areas. Students can enroll in this course even if they have not taken the required course in Constitutional Law.


Required Reading Material

All Reading Materials will be made available on this website by clicking on the Reading Materials link. Generally, the readings are from a two-volume Religion and the Constitution casebook prepared by the instructor. In addition, supplementary online material will be included in several assignments. The reading materials will be made available as a series of .pdfs to be downloaded and printed by students enrolled in the course.

Course Syllabus Summer 2013


Recently Posted Exam Material

Student Study Questions Answered Summer 2013

Course Review Summer 2013


Classroom Materials (other than reading assignments)


Pictures of Ten Commandment Displays

Proposed Summum Monument

Seven Aphorisms of Summum

Religious Symbols on Public Land (pictures of actual displays)

Holiday Displays (pick which ones would be constitutional)

Pawtucket's Creche Shifts to Private Park (by Jeffrey Carmel) (Christian Science Monitor) (October 20,1983)

Photos of Lynch v. Donnelly Display

Endorsement Test

Lemon Test

Parochial School Aid Review

Public Forum Doctrine Outline

Different Versions of Ten Commandments

The Scopes Trial (Tennessee v. Scopes)

Inherit the Wind (1960 film) (plot summary)

Agostini Test

Lemon Test

Standing Under the Religion Clauses

Flast v. Cohen Test

U.S. Constitutional Provisions


Supreme Court Watch

Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway (certiorari granted May 20, 2013)


Exam Review Materials

Student Study Questions Answered Summer 2013

Course Review Summer 2013

How to Improve Your Exam Performance

Review of Standing Under the Religion Clauses

Review of Aid to Religious Schools


Past Examinations

Summer 2013

Fall 2011

Fall 2009

Spring 2008

Summer 2006

Spring 2006

Spring 2004

Spring 2002

Fall 1997

Fall 1995

Spring 1994


Past Examination Answer Sheets

Fall 2011

Fall 2009

Spring 2008

Summer 2006

Spring 2006

Spring 2004

Spring 2002

Fall 1997

Fall 1995

Spring 1994

News Items

Afghans Need More Religious Freedom (Time) (April 30, 2013)