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. Within the Law School's Catholic tradition, the Religious Liberty Clinic prepares the rising generation of religious liberty advocates by training students in the practice of the law as they defend the freedom of religion or belief for all people.
The Religious Liberty Clinic represents individuals and organizations from all faith traditions to promote not only the freedom for people to hold religious beliefs but also their fundamental right to express those beliefs and to live according to them. Students in the Clinic work under the guidance of Notre Dame Law School faculty and staff to provide advice, counsel, and advocacy on a broad array of matters related to religious freedom in the United States and abroad. The Religious Liberty Clinic has participated in proceedings at all levels of federal and state courts, in administrative agencies, and before foreign courts and other governmental bodies around the world.
Next year, the Religious Liberty Clinic will offer opportunities to students interested in this work in three different practice areas:
- Domestic Litigation: Students participate in both direct representation of parties and amicus work before all levels of U.S. courts and administrative agencies.
- Transactional Advising: Students work directly with a variety of religious nonprofit organizations to advise them on tax, corporate, transactional, employment, and strategic issues.
- Global Religious Persecution & Immigration: Students will have the chance to work on issues related to international religious persecution, including representing religious clients seeking asylum in the U.S. and assisting with other government officials and NGOs seeking to investigate and address these issues in other countries.
Through these opportunities, students in the Religious Liberty Clinic learn critical skills needed to promote religious freedom across a variety of roles in the law. More broadly, the Clinic helps further the mission of Notre Dame Law School to form students who will serve their communities with competence and compassion as a powerful force for good in the world.
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, and directed by Associate Professor Stephanie Barclay.
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Apache Stronghold v. 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 Religious Liberty Initiative filed amicus briefs in Carson v. Makin, which challenges Maine’s exclusion of religious schools from Maine's educational tuition assistance program.
Amicus brief filed in Argentina to address the Uyghur genocide
The Religious Liberty Clinic filed an amicus brief in support of a criminal complaint that the World Uyghur Congress and the Uyghur Human Rights Project filed against China for genocide.