Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Scholars Letter on North Dakota Religious Liberty Amendment

Yesterday I blogged about the debate over the proposed North Dakota amendment to apply the "compelling interest" test to state religious-freedom claims (see my own op-ed defense of the proposal).  Now, to counter the groundless warnings about what the proposal would do, a group of religious liberty scholars (including MOJers Garnett, George, Sisk, and Berg) have issued a letter to the state legislative council, making among others the following points:

If the sky has not fallen in the 31 states where these provisions are already the law, including neighboring states like Minnesota, there is no reason to think the experience will be any different in North Dakota. 

Indeed, these laws typically do not wind up applying to large numbers of cases. But those few cases are often of intense importance to the people affected. We should not punish a person for practicing his religion unless we have a very good reason. These cases are about whether people pay fines, or go to jail, for practicing their religion—in America, in the 21st century.


Berg, Thomas | Permalink

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Interesting new information about this measure - abortion-rights groups have provided all of the funding for the campaign against the measure. (94% has come just from Planned Parenthood affiliates.) The measure clearly does legally restrict abortion, contraception, or other "reproductive services."

Apparently, abortion-rights groups see the compelling interest standard as something legally unacceptable.

Posted by: ctd | Jun 1, 2012 5:42:28 PM