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Episode 5: Finding Religion in Unexpected Places: A Discussion of the Establishment Clause

Featuring guest speaker, Sandra S. Baron, Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School

In Episode 5 of Notorious, we mix up the format a bit and discuss the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment in the context of several cases.  No issue under the Establishment Clause reached the U.S. Supreme Court until 1947.  Thus, our discussion starts with Everson v. Board of Education, a landmark decision that applied the Establishment Clause in the country's Bill of Rights to state law.  We conclude with an analysis Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in the 2019 case of American Legion v. American Humanist Association.

Notably, Justice Ginsburg believed in a strict separation between Church and State.  Her view in this regard is reflected repeatedly in her dissents, even as her view was increasingly rejected by a majority of the Court, which permitted the states more latitude in supporting religious institutions.  

Sandra S. Baron, Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, joined by Patterson Belknap attorneys Michelle Bufano and Greg Diskant, discuss the history of the Establishment Clause, Justice Ginsburg’s dissents on this topic and the impact of her legal legacy on future Establishment Clause jurisprudence.

Related Resources:

For a selection of Justice Ginsburg’s writings, see Decisions and Dissents of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:  A Selection, edited by Corey Brettschneider.

For more information about Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, see

For information about becoming a guest on Notorious, email Michelle Bufano.

For questions or more information about Notorious, email Jenni Dickson.