How Has the United States Avoided Wars of Religion?

Among western nations, the United States is unusual for its levels of religious belief and participation.  The United States is also unusual for its cultural diversity, including its diversity of religious affiliations.  So, given this potentially combustible mix of strong beliefs and diversity of beliefs, how has the United States managed to avoid sustained, large-scale religious violence? 

That is the question that motivates Scott Idleman’s newest paper on SSRN, entitled “A Legal Perspective on Conflicts Involving Religious Communities.”  More specifically, Scott is interested in the ways that the legal culture of the United States has helped to “prevent conflicts involving religious and other communities and even foster healthy relations among these communities.”  Here is the abstract:

Within any given state or society, numerous factors can influence both relations among religious communities and relations between these communities and other institutions or value systems, including scientific communities, schools of economic or legal thought, and various ideological or political movements. Though some of these factors obviously arise from within the beliefs and structures of the religions themselves, many arise from the history, political culture, and legal framework of the state or society in which a given religious community is situated. This paper discusses the potential role of law and the legal system in influencing these relations and addressing conflicts among these communities and institutions. After explaining in general terms the relevance of a legal perspective to the assessment and resolution of such disagreements, the paper specifically examines characteristics of the constitutional framework and political culture of the United States that appear to prevent or minimize conflicts involving religious communities.

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Beyond the Employee Free Choice Act

Debate over the Employee Free Choice Act has focused public attention on the fairness of union certification process.  Whatever the outcome of the EFCA debate, 3L Jesse Dill argues in a new paper on SSRN that pro-union advocates should also consider pursuing reform of the law governing union access to employer property.  Jesse’s paper, entitled “Restoring Unions in America by Reforming Nonemployee Union Representative Access Rights to Employer Property,” will be published in Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law.  Here is the abstract:

Unions have lost the once strong position they held in the American workplace. Academics have long debated how to restore the National Labor Relations Act’s relevance in today’s global marketplace. Congress’s preferred solution seems to be the Employee Free Choice Act, which would reform the unionization voting process, but this proposal does not strike at the heart of the matter. Labor is losing the debate on the benefits of unionization for the average worker because it is operating on an uneven playing field where employers can exert undue influence on employees to prevent them from organizing with no real opportunity for nonemployee union representatives to respond. True reform must focus on the ability of union representatives to access employer property, which is currently governed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Lechmere v. NLRB. Recognizing the importance of access to employer property, Professor Jeffrey Hirsch has recently proposed changes to the Lechmere test that would eliminate consideration of state law from the analysis. However, Labor should actually embrace state property law as an answer to the access dilemma. In order to support this claim, this article presents a unique analysis of the different ways in which state property law can provide a means for nonemployees to access private property. Thus, the article concludes with a proposal to reform the Lechmere analysis by emphasizing state property law and also calls for Congress to eliminate discrimination against labor viewpoints in employers’ decisions to open their property to nonemployees.

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What Do Offshore Wind Farms Have To Do With the Disintegration of Contract Law in Wisconsin?

Answer: They are the subjects of this year’s top student comments in the Marquette Law Review.  The winners of the Gold and Silver Quill Awards were announced at last week’s Law Review banquet.  Marvin Bynum won the Gold for “Testing the Waters: Assessing Wisconsin’s Regulatory Climate for Offshore Wind Projects,” while Donald Stroud won the Silver for “Beyond Deception: Finding Prudential Boundaries between Breach of Contract and Deceptive Trade Practice Act Violations in Wisconsin.”  Both papers are on SSRN; “Testing the Waters” is here, and “Beyond Deception” is here. The abstracts appear after the jump.  Congratulations to Marvin and Tripp for this well-deserved recognition!

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