Religious Liberty and the American Founding: Natural Rights and the Original Meaning of the First Amendment's Religion Clauses: Lecture One
Charles E. Test, M.D. '37 Distinguished Lectures Series
Vincent Phillip Muñoz, Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion & Public Life; Concurrent Associate Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame
Lecture One: Justice Scalia was Right in Smith: Why the Original Meaning of the Free Exercise Clause Does Not Require Religious Exemptions
In his first lecture, Professor Muñoz will challenge the reigning orthodoxy among originalist scholars and conservative jurists that the First Amendment protects religious liberty by providing religious exemptions. Understanding the Founders’ natural rights social compact constitutionalism, Professor Muñoz contends, leads to a more limited, but more thorough, protection for the free exercise of religion.
Vincent Phillip Muñoz is the Tocqueville Associate Professor of Political Science and Concurrent Associate Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame. He is the Founding Director of ND’s undergraduate minor in Constitutional Studies and also directs Notre Dame’s Tocqueville Program for Inquiry into Religion and Public Life. Professor Muñoz writes and teaches across the fields of constitutional law, American politics, and political philosophy with a focus on religious liberty and the American Founding. His first book, God and the Founders: Madison, Washington, and Jefferson (Cambridge University Press, 2009) won the Hubert Morken Award from the American Political Science Association for the best publication on religion and politics in 2009 and 2010. His First Amendment church-state case reader, Religious Liberty and the American Supreme Court: The Essential Cases and Documents (Rowman & Littlefield) was first published in 2013 (revised edition, 2015) and is being used at Notre Dame and other leading universities. In 2019, he joined the editorial team of American Constitutional Law (11th edition, Routledge, 2019), the leading constitutional law casebooks designed for undergraduate instruction. Professor Muñoz has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to support his current project, a scholarly monograph on the natural right of religious liberty and the original meaning of the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses. Articles from that project have appeared in American Political Science Review, The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Notre Dame Law Review, American Political Thought, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Journal of Constitutional Law. Professor Muñoz has spoken at over 70 colleges and universities in the past several years. He received his B.A. at Claremont McKenna College, his M.A. at Boston College, and his Ph.D. at Claremont Graduate School.