Winners of the 7th Annual Founding Fathers Religious Liberty Writing Contest – October 2016

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies are pleased to announce the winners of the Seventh Annual Religious Liberty Student Writing Competition. The winners were announced at the International Religious Liberty Awards Dinner held on Thursday, 6 October 2016 in Washington DC.

First Place $4000:  Herman Hofman (Michigan State University College of Law)
Second Place $3000:  Courtney Miller (University of Virginia School of Law)
Third Place $2000:  Lisa Mathews (George Mason School of Law)

Honorable Mention $1000: Caleb Wolanek and Heidi Liu (Harvard Law School); Nevin Beiler (Regent University School of Law); Jonathan Backer (University of Michigan Law School); William Simpson (Boston University School of Law)

The purpose of the writing contest was to promote legal and academic studies in the field of religious liberty. It was open to law students and students pursuing related graduate studies as well as law school graduates who were not yet practicing law due to clerkships or other similar pursuits. Students could choose to address domestic or international religious liberty issues.  Links to the papers are below.

Herman Hoffman, “For Richer, or for Poorer: How Obergefell v. Hodges Affects the Tax-Exempt Status of Religious Organizations that Oppose Same-Sex Marriage”
Courtney Miller, “‘Spiritual but not Religious’: Rethinking the Legal Definition of Religion”
Lisa Mathews, “Free Exercise and Third-Party Harms: Why Scholars are Wrong and RFRA is Right”
Caleb Wolanek and Heidi Liu“Applying Strict Scrutiny: An Empirical Analysis of Free Exercise Cases”
Nevin Beiler, “Deciphering Title Vii & Executive Order 13672: To What Extent are Religious Organizations Free to Discriminate in Their Hiring Practices?”
Jonathan Backer, “Thou Shalt Not Electioneer: Religious Nonprofit Political Activity and the Threat ‘God PACs’ Pose to Democracy and Religion”
William Simpson, “Exit Rights, Pluralism, and Equal Citizenship: Why Religious Exemptions are Still Worth It.”