Justice Scalia, Religious Freedom and the Future of the Supreme Court

March 22, 2016 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Knight Conference Center, Newseum
555 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Free and open to the public. Registration is required.
Justice Scalia, Religious Freedom and the Future of the Supreme Court @ Knight Conference Center, Newseum | Washington | District of Columbia | United States

A month before his death, Justice Antonin Scalia expressed the view that the U.S. Constitution permits the government to favor religion over “non-religion.” He clarified, “To be sure, you can’t favor one denomination over another.” How will the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice change or build upon Justice Scalia’s understanding of religious liberty? What is at stake for this appointment, given that, to date, no Native American, Jewish, or Sikh plaintiff has ever won a Free Exercise case before the U.S. Supreme Court?


  • Lauren W. Herman (moderator) is a civil rights lawyer, community organizer, and scholar of religion and the law. Lauren currently serves as the Harvard Public Service Venture Fund legal fellow at Make the Road New Jersey and as a curriculum designer and instructor at the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute.
  • Hannah Smith (panelist) is the Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund where she recently helped secure victories in key U.S. Supreme Court religious liberty cases, Holt v. Hobbs and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. Previously, she completed two clerkships at the U.S. Supreme Court for Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
  • J. Brent Walker (panelist), executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, is both a member of the Supreme Court Bar and an ordained minister. He is an adjunct professor at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and previously served as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.
  • Nathan C. Walker (moderator) is the executive director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute and the community minister for religion and public life for the Church of the Larger Fellowship, a Unitarian Universalist congregation.
  • Joel Williams (panelist) is the staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He previously worked as the Senior Legislative Officer with Cherokee Nation and director of the tribe’s Washington, DC office and Assistant Counsel with the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of General Counsel.


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