The Religious Liberty Clinic filed its inaugural amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court last week on behalf of the American Islamic Congress and in support of a petition for certiorari filed by the Hutterites, a small religious community in Montana. Jessica Spencer (’13) and Paul Harold (’14) wrote the brief which chiefly concerns the impact on Muslim religious practices of a longstanding circuit split arising under the Free Exercise Clause.
In the brief, Jessica and Paul argue that laws exempting secular, but not religious, conduct should be subject to strict scrutiny. According to the Montana Supreme Court and several federal circuit courts, such laws are subject only to rational basis review. Four other federal circuits and another state supreme court disagree. In arguing for strict scrutiny, Jessica and Paul draw the Court’s attention to ways in which crafty legislatures can target religious minorities, particularly Muslims, through discriminatory exemption schemes.
Jim Sonne directs the Religious Liberty Clinic. Jared Haynie serves as the Clinic’s Staff Attorney, and Nicole Riley is the Clinic’s Legal Assistant.
Congratulations to all.