Religion and the United States Supreme Court
Should members of the Native American church be allowed to smoke peyote at religious ceremonies? Can a public high school invite a rabbi to give a benediction and convocation at graduation? Should a state legislator rely on his or her religious convictions in forming a view about the legality of capital punishment or abortion? Using Supreme Court opinions as our focus, this Master Class will divide these questions into three subject areas: religious liberty; separation of church and state; and the role of religion in public and political life. We will examine how the Court has dealt with these issues and invite participants to construct a new vision of the proper relationship among religion, state, and society in a constitutional democracy.
John Sexton, the fifteenth President of New York University, also is the Benjamin Butler Professor of Law and NYU Law School’s Dean Emeritus, having served as Dean for 14 years. President Sexton is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a past member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities. He has served as the Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (2003-2006) and Chair of the Federal Reserve Systems Council of Chairs (2006). President Sexton received a B.A. in History (1963) from Fordham College; an M.A. in Comparative Religion (1965) and a Ph.D. in History of American Religion (1978) Fordham University; and a J.D. magna cum laude (1979) from Harvard Law School. He is an author of the nation’s leading casebook on Civil Procedure and wrote Redefining the Supreme Court’s Role: A Theory of Managing the Federal Court System in addition to several other books, chapters, articles and Supreme Court briefs. His latest book is Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game.