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Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion and Ethics

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Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, California
February 23-25, 2012

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This conference is sponsored by the Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics and co-sponsored by the Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies. See the schedule for more details.

Dear Friends,

The conference will address a host of sub-questions all at the forefront of contemporary debates over the respective roles of law and religion. Among them:

  • What constitutional restraints, if any, should be placed on the influence of religion on law?
  •  What constitutional restraints, if any, should be placed on the influence of law on religion?
  • If religious faiths do not assert influence on law, will they be dominated by religious or secular traditions that are willing to do so?
  • If religious faiths do not assert influence on law, will injustice reign?
  • If religious faiths do assert influence on law, will injustice reign?
  • Should the goal be autonomy within religious communities, or will that undermine the creation of an integrated and just society?

In many parts of the world, questions like this will engender not only controversy, but also outright hostility and aggression. At this conference, we look forward to a spirited, engaged, and thoughtful conversation that will explore numerous aspects of all of them.

Some speakers will address these issues as a matter of constitutional law, some as a matter of good citizenship, and some as a matter of religious faith. Speakers from a broad range of religious and secular traditions will address how their traditions might influence law—and vice versa.

We were overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of responses to our call for papers for this conference. In the end, we chose those papers which engage each other in conversations we think are important to the legal and religious communities. As the schedule shows, we have many fantastic speakers, any one of whom could anchor a conversation. We look forward to having all of them together.

We hope that you can join us and be part of the conversation.

All our best,

Robert F. Cochran, Jr.
Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law and
Director, Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law,
Religion, and Ethics
Pepperdine University

Michael Helfand
Associate Professor of Law
Pepperdine University School of Law
Associate Director, Diane and Guilford Glazer
Institute for Jewish Studies
Pepperdine University