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Kentucky Law Journal Hosts Symposium on Religious Exemptions and Harm to Others

November 17, 2017

On Friday, November 3, the Kentucky Law Journal, in conjunction with the University of Kentucky College of Law, hosted “Religious Exemptions and Harm to Others.” The symposium took place at the William T. Young Library and was open to the public.

Featuring a diverse group of scholars from across the nation, the program elaborated on how religious freedoms granted in the United States Constitution and associated religious exemptions play a role in our communities and society. Topics consisted of “Religious Accommodations and Third-Party Harms: Constitutional Values and Limits,” “The Oldest Religious Exemption,” and “The Cost of Rights.”

“This symposium was both timely and of crucial importance to the Commonwealth of Kentucky as the debate about religious liberties, religious exemptions, and freedom of speech continues nationwide,” said Jordan Shewmaker, Editor-in-Chief of the Kentucky Law Journal for the 2017-18 academic year.

Speakers for the one-day symposium included:

  • Kathleen Brady, Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University
  • Carl H. Esbeck, R.B. Price Professor Emeritus of Law/Isabelle Wade & Paul C. Lyda Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Missouri School of Law
  • Catherine Hardee, Assistant Professor of Law at California Western School of Law
  • Arnold H. Loewy, George R. Killam Jr. Chair of Criminal Law at Texas Tech University School of Law
  • Christopher C. Lund, Professor of Law at Wayne State University Law School
  • Micah Schwartzman, Joseph W. Dorn Research Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law
  • Eric J. Segall, Kathy and Lawrence Ashe Professor of Law at Georgia State University College of Law
  • Elizabeth Sepper, Professor of Law at Washington University School of Law
  • Gary J. Simson, Senior Vice Provost for Scholarship for Mercer University

A luncheon immediately followed the morning panels, featuring William Marshall, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

“My favorite part of the event was the opportunity for our students to interact with the presenters and have legal discussions about their scholarship,” said third-year law student Shewmaker. “These lively conversations and opportunity for respectful debate are an integral part of the academic opportunities offered at UK Law.”

All presenters will publish an article in Volume 106, Book 4 of the Kentucky Law Journal. A subscription that includes Book 4 can be purchased at

In addition to presenters discussing religious freedoms and exemptions, students and other attendees participated by posing questions throughout the symposium. The program was accredited by the Kentucky Bar Association Commission on Legal Education for a total of 4.25 hours of CLE credit.

“We appreciate the support we received from the University of Kentucky College of Law and the University of Kentucky Student Government Association. More importantly, this event would not have been possible without help from Kentucky Law Journal members who volunteered and contributed to make this event a success, including third-year law student and Special Features Editor Christopher Barber, who organized the symposium” said Shewmaker.