Faculty Fellow Richard Garnett Co-Authors Book on Religious Liberty Jurisprudence

Author: Center for Citizenship & Constitutional Government


Richard Garnett co-authored the fifth edition of Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment (Oxford University Press, 2022) with John Witte Jr. and Joel A. Nichols. Garnett is the Paul J. Schierl/Fort Howard Corporation Professor of Law, director of Notre Dame Law School’s Program on Church, State & Society, and a faculty fellow with the Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government. 

Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment provides a comprehensive analysis of the First Amendment, every Supreme Court case on religious freedom from 1815-2021, and the guiding principles of American religious freedom jurisprudence. Garnett joined as a co-author for the book’s fifth edition, which includes new cases on religious freedom related to sexual liberty, religious worship and COVID-19 restrictions, exemption claims, state aid to religion, religious monuments and ceremonies in public life, and the rights of religious groups. He was invited to co-author this edition because of his special interest in questions regarding the role and rights of religious institutions and communities. 

“One of this book's many strengths, I think, is the fact that it recognizes and explores the communal dimensions of religious freedom. In addition, the thought was that my work on Catholic Social Thought and the contributions of Catholic thinking and history regarding church-state relations would enhance the project,” he said.   

“It's an incredible honor for me,” Garnett continued. “John Witte has, for more than 20 years, been a mentor, role model, and friend. To work with him and with Professor Nichols on a volume that is comprehensive, scholarly, balanced, and accessible was a privilege.”

Garnett is a leading authority on questions and debates regarding the role of religious believers and beliefs in politics and society. He teaches and writes about the freedoms of speech, association, and religion and constitutional law more generally, and he is the founding director of Notre Dame Law School’s Program on Church, State, and Society. Garnett clerked for the late Chief Justice of the United States, William H. Rehnquist, during the Court’s 1996 term and also for the late Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Richard S. Arnold. 

The fifth edition of Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment is available on the Oxford University Press website.

Praise for Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment: 

"This magisterial revision of Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment is an accessible and authoritative guide through the remarkable but tortuous history of America's unique approach to religious freedom. Clear without over-simplification, comprehensive without pedantry, it portrays a system that enabled the United States to become a society where members of all religions and no religion could not only live together in relative harmony but flourish." — Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law emerita, Harvard University