Cato Supreme Court Review 2005-2006

By Roger Pilon; Robert A. Levy et al. | Go to book overview
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Religion and the Constitution:
A Libertarian Perspective

Nadine Strossen*


I. Introduction

I am so honored to deliver this lecture, named after a generous supporter of individual liberty, B. Kenneth Simon. Roger Pilon, who holds the chair in constitutional studies that Ken Simon so generously endowed, has told me about Ken’s inspiring commitment to the Constitution and the ideals of the Founders. Ken was an entrepreneur, but he also devoted much time to studying issues of constitutional law and history. In Roger’s words, Ken had a “lifelong love” for those topics. And thanks to his generosity that love is bearing fruit today.

It is also an honor to follow in the footsteps of my distinguished predecessors in this lecture series, including Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, who is gracing us with his presence today. Along with the Cato Institute, the ACLU is strictly non-partisan. We neutrally advocate civil liberties principles. Therefore, I applaud and thank Roger for inviting libertarians with diverse ideological views to deliver the Simon Lecture.

Of course, even those of us who agree on basic libertarian principles do not necessarily agree on how they apply in particular contexts. That is why I have entitled my presentation, A Libertarian Perspective on Religion and the Constitution. I fully realize that no two thinking libertarians are likely to agree on the whole range of complex issues involved.

*Professor of Law, New York Law School; President, American Civil Liberties Union. For assistance with the footnotes for this piece, Professor Strossen gratefully acknowledges her chief aide, Steven C. Cunningham (NYLS ‘99), and her assistant, Danica Rue (NYLS ‘09); they bear most of the responsibility, as well as the credit, for most of the footnotes.

-7-

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