The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia – Professor Gerard V. Bradley cited by Supreme Court

by James Wilson Institute on June 17, 2021

Associate Justice Samuel Alito of the Supreme Court of the United States cited JWI Trustee and Senior Scholar Gerard V. Bradley twice in his concurrence for today’s decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. This highly anticipated ruling on religious liberty has garnered much speculation among the public and is one of the biggest rulings of this SCOTUS term. Professor Bradley’s law review article “Beguiled: Free Exercise Exemptions and the Siren Song of Liberalism” received two citations in the concurrence.

Excerpts from the opinion that have Professor Bradley’s citations:

“When Smith was decided, scholars had not devoted much attention to the original meaning of the Free Exercise Clause, and the parties’ briefs ignored this issue, as did the opinion of the Court. Since then, however, the historical record has been plumbed in detail,(^34) and we are now in a good position to examine how the free-exercise right was understood when the First Amendment was adopted.” – Associate Justice Samuel Alito’s concurrence page 29

“Another significant development is the subsequent profusion of studies on the original meaning of the Free Exercise Clause. When Smith was decided, the available scholarship was thin, and the Court received no briefing on the subject. Since then, scholars have explored the subject in great depth.(^81)” – Associate Justice Samuel Alito’s concurrence page 71

Read the full opinion of the Court here.

Read Professor Bradley’s cited article here.

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Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790