The establishment of the Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic could not have come at a more timely moment. With religious freedom facing a host of novel challenges, it is heartening to know that the resources of a great law school are now available to defend it and to heighten awareness of its centrality to our democratic experiment.
Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University
What a blessing that there finally will be a religious liberty clinic!
Philip Hamburger, Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
The establishment of the Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic marks a milestone in the battle for religious liberty in the United States. These are troubled times for freedom of religion, so the clinic cannot have come along at a more fitting moment. I wish you Godspeed, and all the very best.
Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Yale University
My sincere congratulations to Stanford Law School on the establishment of a new clinic devoted to safeguarding “religious liberty for all.
Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University
The new Religious Liberty Clinic will provide a unique opportunity for law students to work on pressing issues at the often uneasy intersections of church and state, freedom and equality, and faith and reason. It is further evidence of Stanford’s leading role in clinical legal education.
Jeffrey Selbin, Clinical Professor of Law, Faculty Director, East Bay Community Law Center, Executive Committee Member, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, Berkeley Law School
Religious liberties are often forgotten in the array of just causes around which law students mobilize and legal education is centered. The Stanford Clinic is pioneering and welcome.
Prof. JHH Weiler, University Professor and Director, Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization, NYU School of Law,
Anyone who respects religious liberty, and appreciates the value of clinical legal education, should be thrilled at the opening of Stanford Law School’s new, first-of-its-kind Religious Liberty Clinic. Good luck to its instructors and first group of students, and kudos to the Becket Fund — as always, on the vanguard of this field — for its generous and visionary support.
Ira C. Lupu, F. Elwood and Eleanor Davis Professor Emeritus of Law, George Washington University Law School
The Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic will play a unique and important role, not just in legal education, but also in the protection of the first freedom included in the Bill of Rights. So long as faith matters, we should cherish the work of the Clinic.
John Garvey, President, Catholic University of America
The Religious Liberty Clinic is a tremendously impressive initiative which will fill a much needed gap. No other law school in the country has a clinic focused on legal assistance to religious individuals and organizations. By involving students in the defense of religious rights, the Religious Liberty Clinic provides helpful resources on these important issues and also trains students who can continue the pro bono defense of religious rights after graduation. The Religious Liberty Clinic should make a significant contribution to increasing religious liberty in the United States.
Professor Elizabeth A. Clark, Associate Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University
The Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic is an exciting and promising development. It will give students a valuable opportunity to “learn by doing,” in a cutting-edge context and on problems that really matter. The Clinic’s focus is both timely and timeless.
Richard W. Garnett, Professor of Law and Associate Dean, Notre Dame Law School
The faculty of the Pepperdine University School of Law applauds and congratulates Stanford Law School for establishing the Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic. Challenges to religious liberty abound in society and the public policy issues of our day. It is incumbent upon legal education to place emphasis on the importance of these issues and to provide opportunities for law students to hone their analytical and litigation skills confronting the challenges of religious liberty cases. This new clinic models the intersection of practice and doctrine that is central to good legal education and will serve as a leader in pursuing the noble cause of religious liberty in this nation.
Deanell Reece Tacha, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean, Pepperdine University School of Law
I wish we had such a clinic at George Mason! Congratulations to Stanford Law for the Religious Liberty Clinic.
Michael I. Krauss, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
At a time when the volume and significance of religious freedom issues are constantly increasing, the opening of Stanford’s Religious Liberty Clinic is a particularly welcome development. The talent of Stanford’s students, Stanford’s eminence in clinical legal education, and the ability of those in the program to access the expertise of Professor Michael McConnell (among other luminaries on Stanford’s faculty) all combine to give this program remarkable promise. Not only will the Clinic give students extraordinary experience; it will allow them to play a significant role in litigation and in the broader dialogue concerning our nation’s first freedom.
W. Cole Durham, Jr., Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law and Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University
The Religious Liberty Clinic is a powerful recognition that religious freedom is necessary to the common good of society. It will give students a magnificent opportunity to serve individuals and institutions facing unique challenges: in essence, the challenge of living out faith commitments in an intensely pluralistic environment.
Angela C. Carmella, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law
If there is a God, finding and obeying him (or her) is probably the most important thing that people do on this earth. Stanford’s work in protecting people’s efforts to do these things may be the most important work going on in legal education anywhere. It may be of, well, eternal significance. Congratulations to Stanford and the Becket Fund for this new venture.
Robert F. Cochran, Jr., Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law and Director, Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar, Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics, Pepperdine University School of Law
Religious liberty is a precious civil right: constitutionally and philosophically, it is our First Freedom. The Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic will preserve the ability of many individuals and groups to practice their faith and will train generations of talented law students in this endeavor. Congratulations and best wishes to the clinic staff, Stanford Law School, and the Becket Fund.
Thomas C. Berg, James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy, University of St. Thomas School of Law
The preservation of religious liberty requires not just knowledge and persuasive arguments but also equipped and savvy religious organizations–and thus lawyers with practical insight and skills. The Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic will be a great asset for faith-based services that face expanding restrictions.
Stanley Carlson-Thies, President and Founder, Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance
Hard as it is to believe, America’s law schools have run clinics on every subject under the sun … except America’s “first freedom.” Thanks to Stanford Law School and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty that is about to change. Kudos to all who have contributed to this moment — surely a corner turning in the history of American legal education.
Thomas F. Farr, Director, The Religious Freedom Project, Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
As a law and religion comparativist, for most of the past twenty years, it has seemed self-evident that the most urgent and perplexing issues in this area were international in character. But over roughly the same period it has become clear that all is not quiet on the home front. The past decade in particular has seen the rise in the U.S. of an aggressive, sometimes intolerant secularism, devoted not to creating constitutional space for the free exercise of religion and belief both for those who believe in God and those who don’t, but to creating an ever-expanding public space that is a religion free zone. Thus the advent of the Stanford Law and Religion Clinic is not only a timely development, it reflects a pressing need.
Brett G. Scharffs, Francis R Kirkham Professor of Law, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Associate Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University
The Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic will doubtless quickly emerge as a major force in the defense of our First Freedom, at a time in our nation’s history when such work is sorely needed. Perhaps more importantly, it will become an engine of formation for new lawyers who will carry this fight into the future.
O. Carter Snead
William P. and Hazel B. White Director, Center for Ethics and Culture, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame
The Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic, headed by Professor James A. Sonne, is helping to train and instill in the minds of young lawyers the importance of protecting those who feel accountable to God because of its overwhelming significance to the well-being of society.
Elder Quentin L. Cook, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Stanford Law School’s Religious Liberty Clinic is one of the most encouraging developments in higher education in recent memory. We are thrilled to support Jim Sonne and his team, and look forward to the clinic’s continued flourishing.
William E. Simon, Jr., Co-Chairman, William E. Simon Foundation
Religious liberty is at the heart of the American experience. The Stanford Law School’s new Religious Liberty Clinic is an important step in assuring that our country’s future attorneys are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to defend this most essential of American freedoms. I applaud this program and wish all success to its participants.
Anuttama Dasa, Governing Body Commissioner, International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
Congratulations to the Stanford Law School for the inauguration of the only Religious Liberty Clinic in the United States. We hope this initiative will be followed by other schools in the U.S. and in other countries, given the pressing demand around the world for a greater understanding of freedom of religion and belief and for a renewed commitment to this fundamental human right.
Raimundo C. Barreto Jr., Ph.D., Director, Division on Freedom & Justice, Baptist World Alliance
Coming from the perspective of a religious rights advocate, I know the name of the Becket Fund is gold. Coming from the perspective of an attorney, I know the name of the Stanford University Law School is gold. The marriage of the two in the form of the Religious Liberty Clinic is ideal. I look forward to years of groundbreaking work in support of our country’s First Freedom.
Amardeep Singh, Sikh Coalition
Congratulations upon the inauguration of the Religious Liberty Clinic at Stanford Law School….This is a momentous occasion and exiting event not only for the broader American religious community but for all who hold our Constitution dear.
Rabbi David Niederman, President, United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg
The opening of the Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic is a timely and welcome development. Beyond meeting an immediate need, the clinic has the potential to launch generations of advocates and scholars who care deeply about defending a freedom that is American bedrock.
John W. Huleatt, General Counsel, Bruderhof Communities
Congratulations to Stanford Law School for hosting the only Religious Liberty Clinic in the country. All of those who care for religious liberty should rejoice that law students at Stanford will be dedicating themselves to this important cause.
Dr. Osama Bahloul, Imam of the Islamic Center in Murfreesboro
Religious liberty is a unique blessing in the history and culture of the United States and this liberty is also a universal human right for all people in all places. The eyes of the world are on the US in this unique season where the preservation & promotion of this spiritual treasure is in question. The Religious Liberty Clinic at Stanford Law School is the first and only of its kind, and will become a primary hinge that keeps the door to Religious Liberty open and welcoming to all.
Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent, The Wesleyan Church
Religious liberty will be a defining issue for the course of American life over the next generation. The good news is that the Becket Fund’s record of defending religious freedom is distinguished not merely by its effectiveness but also by its foresight. The Religious Liberty Clinic at Stanford University — made possible in part by support from the Becket Fund, and the only such clinic in the United States — continues the Becket Fund’s tremendous service to the cause of protecting the ‘first freedom’ of our nation’s founding principles.
Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia
Islawmix welcomes news of the founding of the nation’s first Religious Liberty Clinic to give students the opportunity to learn about and engage with laws affecting religious liberty. The Clinic is timely and will be of great benefit to many communities as well as the broader principles of law important for upholding the Constitution for all.
Umbreen Bhatti, Director, IsLawMix Scholars
At a time when religious liberty is becoming an ever more urgent issue both at home and abroad, I am deeply grateful that Stanford Law School is launching the nation’s first religious liberty clinic, and especially so given the quality of its personnel.
Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute
Religious Liberty is such a key discipline in today’s world and yet sadly is so often ignored. I am thrilled that Stanford Law School in Partnership with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty are about to redress that situation by running a clinic on this vital subject. I hope that others might take note and adopt similar programs of their own.
Mervyn Thomas, CEO Christian Solidarity Worldwide
God bless your initiative on protecting the inalienable, God-given right of every human being to worship as his heart and soul dictate! It is surprising that in the USA, where this right is fundamental to our society, that it has taken so long for such an effort to be made. May your work prosper in showing to all the world that civilized society cannot possibly exist without religious liberty.
Bishop Andrew, Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church of America
Congratulations to Stanford Law School on its decision to inaugurate the only Religious Liberties Clinic in the United States. All of us must do whatever we can to ensure that our constitutionally-protected religious liberties are neither violated nor infringed upon, and this clinic will, I trust, be a blessing in this regard.
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York
None of us can avoid confronting questions about the value of life and the best way to live. Whether the answers we give to them are religious or not, having the freedom to answer them and to live our lives in accord with our answers is fundamental for a good society. I wish the Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic every success as it joins the effort to deepen understanding of the nature of religious freedom and its importance for every civilised society.
George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia
Each step that you all help me along the way, I am humbled, honored, and grateful for, but it has taught me that there are people outside these walls that are kind, supportive, and willing to view me and people such as myself as human beings and people who are willing to live up to the standards, principles, and integrity of growth, change, love, and redemption.
An Imprisoned Jewish Client