Public Affairs Discussion Group to return this Friday with focus on “Religious Speech and Property Rights”

Jessie HillThe weekly Public Affairs Discussion Group will continue this Friday with a talk titled “Religious Speech and Property Rights.”

Jessie Hill, professor of law and associate dean for faculty development and research at the School of Law, will lead the discussion on Friday, Jan. 17, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Dampeer Room at Kelvin Smith Library.

The government is supposed to neither establish nor prevent the free exercise of religion, and neither censor nor restrict speech. But what if an individual or group wants to promote religious views in a forum that in some way could be viewed as sponsored by government?

For many years the Supreme Court’s analyses have focused on whether the case seemed to send a message that people with different beliefs were not part of the community, and whether the opportunity for speech was offered equally. In two recent cases, however, the court emphasized property rights.

What does this “turn to property” mean both for religious speech issues and for the broader pattern of how the court thinks about rights? How might it apply in future cases? Does it suggest the court will use property rhetoric to justify exclusion and inequality in other decisions?

The group will discuss these questions and more at Friday’s lunch.

Since 1989, faculty, emeriti, students and staff have gathered on Fridays for a brown-bag lunch and to discuss topics in public affairs.

For updates and more information about the Friday lunch schedule, visit

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