Civil Rights Commission Solicits Comments on Religious Liberty

As regular Cornerite Peter Kirsanow notes, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (on which he serves) will hold a hearing next month on religious liberty, and will solicit comments for a month after that.  Here’s a Commission press release:

The United States Commission on Civil Rights announces that it will hold a briefing to examine recent legal developments concerning the intersection of non-discrimination principles with those of civil liberties. The briefing will take place on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM EST in the Commission’s new headquarters office at 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20425. The offices are accessed using the F Street NW entrance. Interested members of the public are invited to attend.

Two topics will serve as starting points for a discussion involving religious liberties and non-discrimination rules and their broader implications for civil liberties: the Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC case and student group non-discrimination policies, including the Christian Legal Society v. Martinez case. Also at issue are religious liberty claims under First Amendment provisions other than the Religion Clauses.

There will be two panels at the briefing.  The first panel will be composed of scholars involved in the Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC or Christian Legal Society v. Martinez litigation:  Kimberlee Colby, Senior Counsel at the Christian Legal Society, Ayesha Khan, Senior Litigation Counsel, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Daniel Mach, Director, American Civil Liberties Union Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief and Lori Windham, Senior Counsel, Becket Fund.

The second panel will consist of experts who will discuss the broader conflict between anti-discrimination norms and civil liberties. Experts scheduled to appear on the second panel include Alan Brownstein, Professor, University of California at Davis Law School, Marc DeGirolami, Associate Professor, St. John’s University School of Law, Leslie Griffin, Professor, University of Nevada Las Vegas Law School, Marci Hamilton, Professor, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Michael Helfand, Associate Professor, Pepperdine University School of Law, and Edward Whelan, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Yes, that’s our own Ed Whelan.  Until April 21, the Commission will accept comments on this subject, which can be sent to publiccomments@usccr.gov.  Attachment as Word or PDF format for comments is preferred, for easier distribution to commissioners.

Matthew J. Franck — Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

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