MLRT & Gratz College are offering two CLE courses on fascinating and timely constitutional topics on December 4.
Registration is required; click here to register for CLE credit. (Please note that MLRT members will have to click “Submit Payment” to complete their registration even though no payment is required.)
Non-credit attendees register here.
9:30-10:30 am Chabad Menorahs and the American Public Square with Rabbi Zev Eleff
In the 1970s, Americans of all types noticed the appearance of “Chabad Menorahs” in public spaces throughout the United States. The Jewish Hasidic (sometimes called Lubavitch) group had launched a campaign to furnish and mount large, multipronged candelabras to increase awareness of the Chanukah festival during America’s busy wintertime holiday season. While the Christian Right supported the placement of Christmas trees in the public square and welcomed the Jewish contribution to its cause, liberal leaders associated with the American Civil Liberties Union and most Jewish groups opposed Chabad’s seasonal initiative. They argued that Menorahs were a religious item and therefore violated the “Establishment Clause” canonized in the First Amendment. Moreover, Jewish groups explained that Chabad had threatened the very tenet of American life that had made the Jewish experience in the United States so “exceptional,” compared to life in Europe—namely, Church-State separation. Ensuing legal battles in the 1980s raised the matter to the Supreme Court. All told, the episode shines a light on the dynamics of American Jewish life and how its various stakeholders found partners and parallels to influence the wider American faith community.
10:30 am Bagel Break
11:15 am-12:15 pm Dobbs and Beyond with Professor Mitchell Berman
Professor Berman will discuss the Supreme Court’s decision this past summer in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which a 6-3 majority overruled Roe v. Wade to hold that the Constitution does not protect a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Berman will critically assess the Court’s reasoning in Dobbs and explore what the decision augurs for the future both of legal abortion in this country and of the jurisprudence regarding unenumerated constitutional rights, including the right to same-sex marriage.