A CAMBA Panel Event: Does The Supreme Court Have an Anti-Muslim Bias?

  • September 29, 2020
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Zoom


Registration is closed


On October 6, 2020, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Tanzin v. Tanvir. The plaintiffs in the case, three Muslims who say they were placed on the “No Fly List” in retaliation for their refusal to become informants on their religious communities, have sued FBI agents for money damages. Suits like these—that seek damages from government officials and have a connection to national security—have usually not fared well at the Supreme Court. But the plaintiffs in Tanvir have brought their claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, a 1993 law enacted to protect religious freedom. The Court gave robust protection to religious freedom under RFRA in a 2014 case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., and exempted three Christian-owned companies from regulations mandating insurance coverage for contraception.

What’s really at stake in the Tanvir case, and will RFRA make the difference? Would the case come out another way with plaintiffs of a different religion? More broadly, how has the Court treated religious freedom lawsuits brought by Muslims? Is it fair to say that the Court’s decisions reflect an anti-Muslim bias?

Join us over Zoom on September 29, from 6:30 to 8 pm, as a panel discusses these and other questions. Adam Liptak, the Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times, will moderate a conversation between four experts: Dan Mach, Director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, Sirine Shebaya, Executive Director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Lori Windham, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and Asma Uddin, an Inclusive America Project Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

Register for free here by 5 pm on September 28.

More about our speakers:

  • Adam Liptak covers the Supreme Court for The New York Times. A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, he practiced law for 14 years before joining The Times’s news staff in 2002. In 2007, he began writing “Sidebar,” a column on legal affairs. In 2008, he became the paper’s Supreme Court correspondent. Adam was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting in 2009. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has taught courses on the Supreme Court and the First Amendment at the University of Chicago Law School, New York University School of Law and Yale Law School.
  • Dan Mach is the Director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. He leads a wide range of religious-liberty litigation, advocacy, and public education efforts nationwide, and often writes, teaches, and speaks publicly on religious freedom issues. Dan currently serves as an adjunct professor of law at the George Washington University Law School, focusing on constitutional law and religious liberty. Prior to his work at the ACLU, Dan was a partner in the Washington, DC office of Jenner & Block, where he specialized in First Amendment law.
  • Sirine Shebaya is the Executive Director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. She is a longtime immigrants' rights advocate who focuses on combining litigation and public campaign strategies to defend and advance the rights of immigrant communities of color. She has litigated several high-profile cases alongside and on behalf of communities impacted by the Muslim Ban, family separation, discriminatory police practices, and immigration detention and enforcement. In partnership with local community groups, she led a campaign that resulted in eliminating ICE holds in most jurisdictions in Maryland. Sirine’s work advancing and defending immigrants' rights has earned her numerous awards.
  • Lori Windham is Senior Counsel at Becket, where she defends religious freedom for people of all faiths, from the district courts to the Supreme Court. In addition to four Supreme Court victories, she has won more than a dozen victories in federal appellate courts, and her clients have included a Santeria priest prohibited from making animal sacrifices, synagogues prohibited from building on their own land, and the world’s largest religious media network. As an expert on religious freedom issues, Lori has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
  • Asma Uddin is the author of When Islam Is Not a Religion: Inside America's Fight for Religious Freedom and the forthcoming The Politics of Vulnerability: How to Heal Muslim-Christian Relations in a Post-Christian America. She is an Inclusive America Project Fellow at the Aspen Institute, where she is leading a project on Muslim-Christian polarization in the U.S. Asma was formerly legal counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and has held academic fellowships at Georgetown, UCLA, and Brigham Young University Law School. She is also an expert advisor on religious freedom to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and a term-member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

When: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 from 6:30-8:00 pm EST

Where: Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81016549241?pwd=Ty9nQVdQL0ZpSEdtQjdXL2kyQ25adz09)

Meeting ID: 810 1654 9241

Passcode: 186495

Registration is free, but requested. We look forward to seeing you join us for this event!

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