“The unanimity of this decision shows just how great a divergence there now is between well-established First Amendment doctrine and popular—even academic—perceptions. Religious liberty, including the right to deviate from politically powerful norms, is an important part of our civil libertarian heritage, shared by Supreme Court justices on the left as well as the right. Conservatives should calm down; their freedom to worship in accordance with conscience is not imperiled in the America of 2021. And left-progressives also should calm down; there is nothing radical or nefarious about the application of civil liberties to protect people across the spectrum.”
Michael W. McConnell is the Richard & Frances Mallery Professor at Stanford Law School, director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center, and senior fellow at the Hoover Institute. A constitutional law scholar, he served as a circuit judge on the U. S, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit from 2002 – 2009. His most recent scholarship includes “The President Who Would Not Be King: Executive Power Under the Constitution,” (Princeton University Press, 2020), and “Agreeing to Disagree: How the Establishment Clause Protects Religious Diversity and Freedom of Conscience,” (Cambridge University Press, 2021), co-authored with Nathan Chapman.