Wednesday, February 20
Reception 6:00 pm
Program 7:00 pm
The Cornell Club
6 East 44th Street
New York, NY
Can the government deny the use of public space for worship services? Professor Nelson Tebbe will be debating this question later this month at an event hosted by lawyers’ division of The Federalist Society. The occasion for the discussion is the pending case of Bronx Household of Faith v. NYC Department of Education, which concerns a New York City regulation that bans worship services inside school buildings after hours.
Tebbe, a constitutional law scholar, will be debating the position of the NYC Department of Education against Jordan Lorence of Alliance Defending Freedom, counsel for the Bronx Household of Faith.
The main questions in the case are whether this regulation violates the free exercise of religion and whether it abridges freedom of speech. The rule prohibits school buildings from being used for religious worship services, and it was designed primarily to avoid social divisiveness, as well as to ensure that the City does not appear to be endorsing religious activity. The Bronx Household of Faith argues both that the rule specifically targets religion in violation of the Free Exercise Clause and also that it constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the Speech Clause. The City maintains that it has discretion to prevent city buildings from serving as houses of worship, consistent with the Constitution’s separation of church and state.
The debate will be moderated by Honorable Douglas H. Ginsburg of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The event is open to the public, and students are welcome. No reservations are required.
Learn more about the event.