Monday, February 24, 2020

The International Religious Freedom Act: Non-State Actors and Freedom From Sovereign Government Control

Robert C. Blitt at Marquette Law Review, 103 Marq. L. Rev. 547 (Volume 103, Issue 2, Winter 2019)

Abstract

"The International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) recently underwent its most significant amendment process since being introduced in 1997. Among the major changes, sponsors of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act (Wolf Act) proposed adding a new framework to IRFA intended to address the phenomenon of non-state actors (NSAs) violating the right to freedom of religion or belief. The impetus for this new mandate, according to the bill’s sponsors, flowed from the realization that NSAs such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) were wielding religious intolerance to commit 'some of the most egregious religious freedom violations.'

"Despite its findings that violent NSAs represented an expanding force responsible for exposing a significant percentage of the global population to severe abuses of freedom of religion and belief, the Wolf Act faced an uphill battle in Congress that necessitated significant compromises to secure its passage. As a result, the final bill modified or altogether failed to enshrine certain measures originally proposed to address NSAs. In their place, the Wolf Act instituted an ambiguous statutory definition for those NSAs that would be subject to scrutiny under IRFA. Furthermore, while the new 'Entity of Particular Concern' (EPC) designation for NSAs identified as engaging in 'particularly severe violations of religious freedom' appeared to mirror IRFA’s existing mandatory sanctions regime for 'Countries of Particular Concern,' it fell far short by triggering only a suggestion that the President 'take specific actions, when practicable, to address [EPC] violations of religious freedom.'

"As this new chapter for IRFA enters its third year, this Article will demonstrate that the NSA-related provisions present significant challenges for the U.S. government. To begin the task of fleshing out the nature and impact of these challenges, the Article focuses on one element of IRFA’s NSA definition—namely, the requirement that an NSA be 'outside the control of a sovereign government.' After addressing IRFA’s NSA definition and providing an overview of its implementation to date, this Article turns to a critical appraisal of how the state control requirement has been implemented to date. The Article closes with several suggestions aimed at clarifying definitions and institutional responsibilities to repair current practice and reinvigorate IRFA’s promise of promoting and protecting the right of all individuals to freedom of religion or belief.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Mass and Annual Meeting February 20th

The Society will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, February 20th.

Mass will begin at 5:15 pm at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in the daily Mass chapel

The annual meeting will be held thereafter at Flannery's on Cathedral Square (425 East Wells Street). Appetizers will be served, with cash bar available. The cost of attending the annual meeting is $20, which goes to defer the cost of the food. Checks can be made out to the St. Thomas More Lawyers Society. Cash will also be accepted on site.

At the annual meeting, the slate of officers and new Board of Governors will be elected and there will be discussion of events for the upcoming year, including an upcoming Morning of Reflection during Lent. We hope to see you there.

See our Calendar for a complete listing of upcoming events.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Andre Lesperance "The Evangelical Catholic" February 7th

Our monthly First Friday Mass and Meeting is February 7th.

Mass will be celebrated at 7:30 A.M. in the Chapel of St. Edmund Campion, located on the 4th floor of Eckstein Hall (Marquette University Law School). The celebrant will be the Rev. Brad Krawczyk. Mass will be followed by our meeting and discussion from 8:00-9:00 A.M., which includes a continental breakfast (suggested donation $5.00).

Our guest this month will be Andre Lesperance, Senior Ministry Consultant with The Evangelical Catholic. He has worked in Catholic ministry and education since 2003 and holds a Master's Degree in theology from Marquette University. Mr. Lesperance will be discussing his work with the Evangelical Catholic, including a new book he has just published. We hope you will be able to join us. Many thanks to President-Elect John Herbers for inviting Mr. Lesperance to speak with us.

Limited complimentary visitor parking is available in the Eckstein Hall underground parking structure, 11th Street level, between Wisconsin Avenue and Clybourn Street. The parking system that requires two tickets to exit. Enter the lot, pull a ticket, and find an open parking space. Once parked, follow signs to the elevator. Take the elevator to the main floor, which opens to the foyer, and go to the Welcome Desk to get your "chaser" ticket so that you will not have to pay for parking when exiting. In other words, for free parking, when you exit you will need both the ticket you pulled when you entered and the "chaser" ticket the Welcome Desk gave you.

The Society will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, February 20th. Mass will be held at 5:15 pm at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in the daily Mass chapel. The annual meeting will be held thereafter at Flannery's on Cathedral Square (425 East Wells Street). Appetizers will be served, with cash bar available. The cost of attending the annual meeting is $20, which goes to defer the cost of the food. Checks can be made out to the St. Thomas More Lawyers Society. Cash will also be accepted on site.

At the annual meeting, the slate of officers and new Board of Governors will be elected and there will be discussion of events for the upcoming year, including an upcoming Morning of Reflection during Lent. We hope to see you there. So that we can order an appropriate amount of food, please reply to this email if you plan to attend the annual meeting.

See our Calendar for a complete listing of upcoming events.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Disagreement Is Not Always Discrimination

"Disagreement Is Not Always Discrimination: On Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Analogy to Interracial Marriage", article by Ryan T. Anderson at the Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy, Volume 16, No. 1, Winter 2018, page 123

Monday, December 30, 2019

Judges Dedinsky and Gabler, CLE including Ethics, January 9th 2020

The Society will be offering a morning of CLE at Marquette Law School from 830 am to 1115 am on Thursday, January 9. Judge Paul Dedinsky will present on ethical leadership from 8:30 until 10, and Judge Daniel Gabler will present on effective voir dire between 10:15 and 11:15. We are very grateful to both judges for taking time out of their busy schedules to present. The program will be 2.5 credits, including 1.5 credits of ethics.

The Society is pleased to offer this program to its members for free. However, in order to gauge attendance, please respond to the email you received about it by January 3 if you plan to attend. If we do not have sufficient interest, we will cancel or reschedule. While the program is being offered at no cost, there will be an opportunity to support the Society's Bishop Perry Scholarship Fund through a free will offering. Many thanks to both our presenters and Marquette Law School for providing this CLE opportunity.

There will be no First Friday Mass on January 3rd due to the holidays. Our next First Friday will be Friday, February 7th.

Our annual meeting and Mass will be on February 20th. More details will follow.

Friday, December 20, 2019

"Faith and reason are mutually reinforcing"

Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court, gave the address for the dedication of Christ Chapel as part of the celebration of the 175th anniversary of Hillsdale College. These excerpts are published at Imprimis, November 2019.