Alan E. Brownstein
Alan E. Brownstein, a nationally recognized Constitutional Law scholar, teaches Constitutional Law, Law and Religion, and Torts at UC Davis School of Law. While the primary focus of his scholarship relates to church-state issues and free exercise and establishment clause doctrine, he has also written extensively on freedom of speech, privacy and autonomy rights, and other constitutional law subjects. His articles have been published in numerous academic journals, including the Stanford Law Review, Cornell Law Review,UCLA Law Review and ConstitutionalCommentary. In 2008, Liberty was privileged to recognize Professor Brownstein for his passion and dedication to religious freedom at its annual Religious Liberty Dinner in Washington, D.C.
In my judgment, DOMA is clearly unconstitutional. It violates both equal protection principles and the substantive due process right to marry. We need to be precise, however, about the consequences of striking down this federal law.
The tax regulation restricting speech endorsing or disfavoring political candidates applies across the board to all non-profits. It does not discriminate against religion. Accordingly, the regulation does not violate the Free Exercise Clause.
To the extent that this Alabama law prohibits clergy obedient to these commands from ministering to the spiritual needs of strangers in their land, it violates the religious freedom of Alabama citizens.
The idea that a religious practice can be condemned because it is medieval, old or antiquated should strike Christians, Jews, Muslims and adherents of other traditional faiths as an odd proposition. The antiquity of religious beliefs and practices is hardly a reason to disparage them.
I believe an ordinance banning male circumcision for minors would not withstand rigorous judicial scrutiny. The question is whether or not the ordinance would be subjected to meaningful judicial review.
Because the Westboro church members were picketing 1000 feet away from the funeral service in a place they were told to stand by local police, and the mourners could not see the protestor's offensive signs while entering or leaving the church, the Supreme Court's decision in Snyder v. Phelps was not unexpected. If we depart from the specific facts of this case, however, the problem of the Westboro church members' protests at funerals raises at least two troubling free speech issues.
The sudden displacement of an authoritarian government by pro-democracy forces raises two immediate concerns. First, such revolutions, even if they are largely non-violent in their character, are likely to be followed by a period of political instability and economic dislocation. Second, when an authoritarian regime is challenged for ignoring the interests of the majority, the focus of the opposition on majority rule and democratic decision making may result in too little attention being paid to legitimate reasons to curtail majoritarian prerogatives.
A Supreme Court ruling confirms gay marriage and questions religious liberty.
The Windsor and Perry cases and their impact on religious liberty.
Anyone who has kept up on current events knows about the proposed Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations that were announced in January....
Same-sex marriage and religious liberty