Religious Liberty Clinic

With the receipt of a transformational gift from Matt and Lindsay Moroun and family, Notre Dame Law School put its rich tradition of religious liberty scholarship into practice by creating the Notre Dame Religious Liberty Clinic in 2020.

The Religious Liberty Clinic protects not only the freedom for individuals to hold religious beliefs but also their right to exercise and express those beliefs and to live according to them. In only its first year of operation, the Religious Liberty Clinic has represented individuals and organizations from an array of faith traditions to defend the right to religious worship, to preserve sacred lands from destruction, to promote the freedom to select religious ministers, and to prevent discrimination against religious schools and families. 

In addition to defending religious exercise wherever it is curtailed, the Religious Liberty Clinic advances and advocates for the critical presence of religious expression, religious institutions, and religious believers in public life. 

The Law School appointed Stephanie Barclay as an associate professor to teach and generate scholarship related to the initiative as well as help launch the groundbreaking clinic that will train future Notre Dame lawyers to defend religious freedom by pursuing claims in trial courts as well as appeals up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court.

The clinic is the cornerstone of the broader Religious Liberty Initiative advanced by G. Marcus Cole, the Joseph A. Matson Dean of the Law School.

Clinic Staff

John Meiser

Supervising Attorney, Religious Liberty Clinic

Francesca Genova

Legal Fellow, Religious Liberty Clinic

Visit the People page for a full list of Religious Liberty Clinic staff and faculty.

Cases

Apache Stronghold vs. United States of America - The Religious Liberty Clinic filed an amicus brief in favor of religious liberty protections for Oak Flat, an Indigenous sacred site in Arizona being threatened with destruction.

Carson v. Makin - The case challenges Maine’s exclusion of private religious schools from the state’s educational tuition assistance program.

Gordon College v. DeWeese-BoydThe Religious Liberty Initiative filed the amicus brief on behalf of Benedictine College of Atchison, Kansas, and Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio — two Catholic institutions that share characteristics in common with Gordon College as deeply religious institutions of higher education that directly integrate their faith into all their educational programs.

Agudath Isr. of Am. v. Cuomo - The Religious Liberty Clinic filed a set of briefs representing Muslim organizations and scholars in defense of Jewish groups who have been shut down by discriminatory COVID-19 closures in New York City.

Ramirez v. Collier - On November 9, the Houston Chronicle published an editorial written by John Meiser, supervising attorney of Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Liberty Clinic, and Thomas Hellenbrand, a third-year law student and member of the 2021-2022 Religious Liberty Initiative student cohort. The piece is about Ramirez v. Collier, which the U.S. Supreme Court heard on November 9. The case’s plaintiff, John Henry Ramirez, is a convicted murderer on death row who is asking the state of Texas to allow his pastor to pray over him and touch him during execution.

Shurtleff v. Boston - This case that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that government officials may not exclude religious expression from the public square, and the Religious Liberty Clinic filed an amicus brief in support of Shurtleff.

Other Media

Live Chat with Marcus Cole

Dean G. Marcus Cole discussed Notre Dame Law School's Religious Liberty Initiative and other topics with Vice President for University Relations Lou Nanni in the video below. The portion about the Religious Liberty Initiative begins at 10:10.