ConLaw Class 26 – The First Amendment

April 24th, 2018

Class 26

The First Amendment

Freedom of Speech
  • Snyder v. Phelps (1420-1430)
  • Matal v. Tam (1501-1506)
Free Exercise
  • Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments (1569-1570)
  • Sherbert v. Verner (1571-1573)
  • Employment Division v. Smith (1573-1578)
Establishment Clause
  • McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky (1638-1649)

The lecture notes are here.

Snyder v. Phelps

This Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder who was killed in Iraq in 2006.

The Westboro Baptists protested outside the cemetery during Snyder’s funeral. The family did not see the protestors at the time, and only became aware of their presence later. The Baptists protest funerals, always quietly, holding up signs with these sorts of messages:

The case was argued for Respondents by Margie Phelps, who is Fred Phelp’s daughter.

The evening before oral arguments at the Supreme Court, I conducted this interview with Orlando Bethel from Alabama who was not a member of Phelps’s church, but was sympathetic to his views, and perspectives on constitutional law.

Matal v. Tam

The Slants:


Employment Division v. Smith




During a recent trip to Salem, Oregon, I stopped at the Oregon Division of Employment, which (at some point) was renamed the Oregon Employment Department. Of course, this was the origin of Employment Division v. Smith. I asked the receptionist if she was familiar with the case–she gave me the oddest glare. In any event, I took pictures.





McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky