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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Las Vegas City Life Interviews Professor Griffin

The Boyd School of Law is very pleased to announce that Las Vegas City Life published a lengthy interview with Professor Leslie Griffin yesterday.

Entitled, "A Local Law School Prof Is at the Forefront of the Debate over Contraception Insurance and Religion," the interview begins with Professor Griffin's decision to write a letter that was signed by 170 law professors across the country and entered into the Congressional Record on August 1, 2012, at pages E1370 and E1371. In the letter, which defends free contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Professor Griffin contends that ACA protects women's rights and does not infringe on religious freedom:

"The way I think of religious freedom is to say we have the free exercise clause, and although there are few cases that say the government has to keep complete hands off religious organizations, the dominant theme has been that religions need to follow the law, like everybody else. Otherwise every citizen would be a law unto himself. If the drastic end of my religion said 'sacrifice human beings,' that shouldn’t entitle me to do it. And so if you move down from the very extreme to 'well, if my religion says I can harm people, or if my religion says I can treat my employees any way I want,' we shouldn’t assume the Constitution protects that kind of freedom. What the Constitution protects is laws that aren’t based on religion and that let us all live together."

Professor Griffin concludes her interview by stating, "One of the reasons we have the establishment clause is to keep churches from having too much power in our government. The First Amendment is supposed to protect individuals. The individuals here are women of different faiths, or no faith, and of different conscience. They should be the ones who get to make decisions about their reproductive freedom, not their employers."

Professor Griffin currently serves as William S. Boyd Professor of Law. She is author of Law and Religion: Cases and Materials, editor of Law and Religion: Cases in Context, and author of numerous articles and book chapters about law, religion, politics and ethics. Her most recent law review article, "The Sins of Hosanna-Tabor," forthcoming in the Indiana Law Journal, addresses the Supreme Court’s recent First Amendment decision. Professor Griffin is a graduate of Yale University (M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D., Religious Studies) and Stanford Law School.