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Course Details

Church and State (Barak-Corren)

Spring 2023   LAW 693-001  

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Additional Information

Skills Training
Expository Writing
Other Professional Skills:

20% Participation,
80% Exam

Take Home,
Partial Open Book (No internet, only class notes and slides.)

Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement



Class meets in person.

Course Continuity
Students are encouraged to stay home if you are ill or experience flu-like symptoms. If you miss a class for any reason, it is still your responsibility to make up the work missed.

I offer the following to students who miss class due to illness:

- Class sessions are regularly recorded. If you are absent due to illness or some other unavoidable circumstance, contact Felicia Lin, the Dean of Students. Upon receipt of her authorization, I will email instructions to you for accessing the recording for the class session(s) you missed.

Meeting Times/Location
T 10:00AM - 11:50AM
Silverman Hall 280



What is the optimal model for church-state relations? Throughout history nations wrestled with this question and experimented with setting the bounds in various places. In this seminar, we will examine dominant models for structuring the government-religion relationship and assess their strengths and weaknesses.

We begin with the classic writings of Locke and Mill on religious tolerance and the value of individual liberty. These readings will provide us a theoretical framework of considerations to which we can refer throughout the quarter. We proceed to trace these ideas in the origins of the Establishment Clause and consider the challenges of bridging past and present. We will then explore the shifting American model of church-state relations in comparison to models developed in exemplar countries. Specifically, we will survey six models: Separationism; Non-Preferentialism; Accommodationism; Most Favorite Standard; Multiculturalism (Canada, Europe); National Establishment (Israel). We will conclude by a summary evaluation of all models in relation to the theoretical framework with which we started.

I guarantee that we will *not* reach a definitive conclusion as to the optimal model for church-state relations in this course. However, by the end of the seminar we will understand the trade-offs offered by each model; and we will form the questions and hypotheses that, if and when thoroughly examined and answered, will bring us closer to accurately assessing the implications of each model for our democracy, rights, and liberties.

Attendance: 100%. No class on April 4th.

Course Concentrations

Constitutional Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of constitutional law; Perform legal analysis in the context of constitutional law; Communicate effectively on topics related to constitutional law; Demonstrate an understanding of constitutional law affects other areas of law.