Rick Garnett

Rick Garnett

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Paul J. Schierl/Fort Howard Corporation Professor of Law
Concurrent Professor of Political Science

Office: 3164 Eck Hall of Law
Phone: 574-631-6981
Email: rgarnett@nd.edu
Twitter: @RickGarnett

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Areas of Expertise

Death penalty, free speech, school choice, Catholic social thought, church/state relations, religion in the public square, free exercise of religion, federalism and criminal law, Supreme Court, criminal defense, religious liberty, education reform

Garnett teaches and writes about the freedoms of speech, association and religion, and also about constitutional law more generally. He is a leading authority on questions and debates regarding the role of religious believers and beliefs in politics and society. Before joining the Notre Dame law faculty in 1999, Garnett had clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and practiced law in criminal defense, religious liberty and education reform matters. A tireless constitutional scholar, articulate commentator and the prolific author of op-ed pieces, he holds strong, informed and articulate opinions on just about anything the Constitution is able to affect, from school choice, church-state relations and religion in the public square to free speech, free exercise of religion and the death penalty. He is the founding director of the Law School’s new Program on Church, State and Society, an interdisciplinary project that focuses on the role of religious institutions, communities and authorities in the social order.


Garnett shares his expert opinion on the upcoming term for the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Meanings of Religious Freedom in America

The Supreme Court – Looking Forward

“The Supreme Court does not answer moral questions in the abstract. The Supreme Court answers legal questions that arise in the cases of real people.”


Faculty experts comment on Pope’s visit to the United States
The Supreme Court’s ‘black-letter-law freedom of speech day’
Supreme Court decision on prison beard ban ‘clear, correct and welcome’
Courts should resist ‘overcriminalization’
SCOTUS ruled correctly on legislative prayer
Abortion-related free speech case gives opportunity to ‘correct earlier mistake’
SCOTUS DNA ruling ‘goes to the heart of the Fourth Amendment’
SCOTUS upholds health care, ignores partisan intimidation
Religious liberty lawsuit to ‘vindicate constitutional commitments’
Much at stake as Supreme Court considers ‘Obamacare’
Supreme Court to hear “one of most important church-state cases in decades”
Retirement of Justice Stevens emphasizes importance of elections
Law professor Garnett says Supreme Court’s religious display decision won’t end the argument
Supreme Court opens new term
Garnett questions perception of Supreme Court’s right turn
Law professor argues for ban on partial birth abortion
Garnett sees little new in Supreme Court ruling on commandments displays


Richard Garnett joins friend of the court brief in Supreme Court’s Little Sisters of the Poor case
Notre Dame Law Review’s annual symposium to examine ‘Dignitatis Humanae’
Law professor named consultant to U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Religious Liberty
ND Law School professor Garnett reacts to Supreme Court handgun, death penalty decisions
Garnett’s dedication to Catholic school choice rooted in law, and life
Garnett addresses Senate hearing on religious expression
Garnett praises Supreme Court decision on tuition vouchers


CNBC — What’s Obama’s Supreme Court strategy?
Religion News Service — Merrick Garland is Jewish. Does it matter?
The Christian Science Monitor — Contraception case: On divided court, spotlight shifts to female justices
The Washington Post — The Supreme Court could become mostly liberal Jews and conservative Catholics
TIME — Obama’s Supreme Court Pick Would Be a High-water Mark for Jews on the Court
Buzzfeed — There Are People Who Know Ted Cruz And Like Him, Documents Show\
The New York Times — Student of Irish Language Brings to Life a Patriot of the Easter Rising
Deseret News — How Justice Scalia ruled on religious freedom — and why it matters
Catholic New Agency — For Antonin Scalia, faith and work did not conflict
Religion News Services — Does the Supreme Court need an evangelical justice?
Crux — Scalia was a champion of traditional Catholicism
National Catholic Register — Indiana Bill Seeks to Clarify Religious-Freedom Protection
Christian Science Monitor — Prayer at one Washington school: Religious freedom on the 50-yard line?
Fox News — The politicization of our Supreme Court
Chicago Sun Times — Vatican observers raise questions about Kentucky clerk’s visit with pope
The New York Times — Pope Francis, the Kentucky Clerk and Culture Wars Revisited
Associated Press — Vatican observers raise questions about Kentucky clerk’s visit with pope
The Washington Post — In Philadelphia, Pope Francis put himself into America’s hot-button religious freedom debates
Associated Press — Pope Religious Liberty Talk Falls Short, Amid List of Issues
Fox News — Pope Francis delivers prophetic, pastoral message to Congress
PennLive.com — Pope Francis not likely to give Congress answers to thorny issues
Scientific American — Pope Francis Supports Pres. Obama’s Message on Climate Change
The Washington Post — Tax exemptions protect religious freedom. We should keep them.
The Washington Post — Legally, ‘God’s authority’ is a tough issue
America Magazine — When It Comes to Abolishing the Death Penalty, Who Should Decide?
The New York Times — Schools Fear Gay Marriage Ruling Could End Tax Exemptions
America Magazine — Two Overlooked Free Speech Rulings from SCOTUS
NPR — Justices Give Officials More Say On Cars’ Plates, Less On Roadside Signs
The Washington Post — Supreme Court rules for Arizona church in sign ordinance case
The Los Angeles Times — Supreme Court sides with Muslim girl denied a job over head scarf
USA Today — Should Washington set out to change religious beliefs? Column
Bloomberg Law — Bloomberg Law – April 17, 2015
National Catholic Reporter — Bishops call for ‘mutual respect’ in ‘necessary dialogue’ on RFRA
USA Today — What the ‘religious freedom’ law really means for Indiana
CNN — Supreme Court takes on specialty license plates
The New York Times — Parents’ Beliefs Should Be Honored, Within Reason
Religion News Service — Supreme Court wrestles with accommodating religious faith on the job
The Christian Science Monitor — Death penalty in 2014: why US has seen fewest executions in 20 years
National Catholic Reporter — While House redistricting may keep GOP in place, real battle is within the party
Associated Press — Justices’ new term has expectations on gay unions
National Catholic Reporter — Garnett on ‘Freedom of the Church’
The New York Times — Among Justices, Considering a Divide Not of Gender or Politics, but of Beliefs
NPR — High Court Allows Some Companies To Opt Out Of Contraceptives Mandate
The Wall Street Journal — Obama, Congress Likely Face Tough Decision on Contraceptive Coverage
The Hill — High court allows prayers at town meetings
ABC News Radio — Supreme Court Upholds Prayer at Town Meetings
The Washington Post — Following Supreme Court decision, Carroll commissioners allowed to pray — for now
Religion News Service — Does Hobby Lobby have religious rights? The Supreme Court will decide
ABC News — 3 Questions Facing the Supreme Court in Contraception Case
ABC World News — Prayer in America: Supreme Court’s big ruling
National Catholic Reporter — Is ‘Laissez-faire’ a ‘straw man’?
ABC News — Supreme Court Upholds Prayer at Town Meetings
NPR — Prayers Before Town Hall Meetings Are Constitutional, High Court Finds
The Washington Post — Experts say botched execution in Oklahoma is unlikely to bring big death-penalty changes
The Christian Science Monitor — Botched Oklahoma execution shakes even death penalty supporters
CNN — Oklahoma’s botched lethal injection is a new front in battle over executions
The Wire — The Many Rights Groups with Something at Stake in the Hobby Lobby Case
The New York Times — Contraception Ruling Could Have Reach Far Beyond Women’s Rights
The Christian Science Monitor — Was vetoed Arizona bill misrepresented? What constitutional scholars say.
Los Angeles Times — Single mothers-to-be and gays fight firings from Catholic school jobs
National Review — Solidarity, Not a Scolding
The Washington Post — Court to review religious law once hailed by Democrats but now used to battle Obamacare
Associated Press — Justices doubtful on Mass abortion buffer zone law
Associated Press — Protests at abortion clinics back at high court
The New York Times — Indiana Finds It’s Not So Easy to Buck Gay Marriage Trend
Los Angeles Times — Supreme Court halts Utah gay marriages, signaling cautious approach
Los Angeles Times — The righteousness in Hobby Lobby’s cause
NPRACLU Sues, Claiming Catholic Hospitals Put Women At Risk
Los Angeles Times — Supreme Court to hear cases on Obamacare and birth control
The New York Times — Court Confronts Religious Rights of Corporations
CNN — Top court not likely to block town prayers
ABC News — Board Meeting Prayer Bound for Supreme Court in Church-State Case
Associated Press — Legislative prayer gets Supreme Court review
The Washington Post — Supreme Court to hear new case on religion in public life
ABC News — Supreme Court Kicks Off New Term As Hot-Button Issues Await
National Catholic Reporter — Stop parsing the pope
The American Prospect — A New Plot to Change the Pledge
Today’s Catholic News — ‘Every person, because he or she is a person, has the right to religious liberty’
The Washington Post — A conservative Supreme Court swerves to avoid easy definition
CNN — Is Anthony Kennedy ‘the first gay justice’?
NPR — Supreme Court Extends Gay-Marriage Rights With Two Rulings
National Catholic Register — Supreme Court Overturns Part of DOMA, Dismisses Proposition 8 Case
NPR — Who Gets Religious Exemptions And Why
Los Angeles Times — Judges split over birth control coverage and religious liberty
Reuters/NBC/Chicago Tribune, etc. — Will police dogs pass Supreme Court sniff test?
The Wall Street Journal — The Conscience of a Judicial Conservative
National Catholic Reporter — Camosy v. Garnett
The Christian Science Monitor — Obamacare: US judge lets Catholic-owned firm cut contraception from coverage
The Wall Street Journal — Judge Backs Catholic Owners of Firm on Health-Law Rule
NPR — Court Gives States Ammunition In Health Care Battle
National Catholic Register — Obamacare Ruling Allows Lawsuits to Continue
Chicago Tribune — Constitutional basics after the ruling
NPR — Roberts Delivers For President Who Had Opposed Him
The Washington Post — Affordable Care Act ruling promises religious fights for the forseeable future
MSNBC — Beyond the mandate: Court’s ruling on another ACA provision could threaten Congress’s spending power
NPR — Legal Scholars React: ‘Many People Were Stunned’
“Catholic San Francisco — Heroes of religious liberty span centuries ":http://www.catholic-sf.org/ns.php?newsid=7&id=60038
Fox News (On the Record with Greta van Susteren) — Contraception Controversy
MSNBC TV — 43 Catholic institutions file suit against the Obama administration
The Wall Street Journal — Catholics Sue Over Health Mandate
‎The Wall Street Journal — Do Lawsuits over Contraception Requirement Have a Shot?
Chicago Tribune — Local Catholic groups join fight against Obama birth control mandate
Associated Press — Teacher says Catholic school fired her over IVF
Associated Press — Justices meet Friday to vote on health care case
Bloomberg Businessweek — Centerpiece at Risk as High Court Hears Core Argument
Reuters — Bishops, White House talks snarl on treatment of faith-based groups
USA Today — Column: HHS mandate still undermine religious freedom?
Time — To Sniff or Not to Sniff? Supreme Court to Decide if Drug Dog’s Nose Went Too Far
Associated Press — High court keeps judges out of church job disputes
National Catholic Register — Unprecedented Legal Action Takes HHS Mandate Battle to the Courts
U.S. News & World Report — Supreme Court: Religious Workers Can’t Sue for Job Discrimination
USA Today — Column: Hosanna-Tabor ruling a win for religious freedom
The New York Times — Religious Groups Greet Ruling With Satisfaction
Associated Press — Thomas, Kagan asked to sit out health care case
USA Today — Column: Why contraception mandate should be scrapped
Bloomberg — Obama’s Health-Care Law Gets High Court Review
Los Angeles Times — A buoyed healthcare law reaches Supreme Court
Yahoo! News — Obama’s lawyers bid to regulate religious hiring
Time — Alabama Town Gives Offenders a Choice: Jesus or Jail
The Washington Post — Supreme Court Justice Thomas tells Neb. law students the high court needs geographic diversity
Huffington Post — Thomas says high court needs geographic diversity
Forbes — Thomas says high court needs geographic diversity
South Bend Tribune — Response to lawsuit threat over Family Dollar deal expected Wednesday
New Hampshire Public Radio — High Court OKs Sales Of Violent Video Game To Kids
NPR — High Court OKs Sales Of Violent Video Games To Kids
The New York Sun — Religious New Yorkers at Risk of Government Action Under Same-Sex Marriage Law, Professors Warn
USA Today — Hosanna-Tabor case to test our church-state divide
National Public Radio — How Will Supreme Court Rule on Health Care Law?
The Wall Street Journal — Might the Next Stop for the Health Care Challenges Be the High Court?
The Washington Post — The House reads the Constitution for you
Boston Public Radio’s ‘On Point’ — Elena Kagen’s Confirmation Hearings
Los Angeles Times — Supreme Court Extends Rights of Gun Owners
The Christian Science Monitor — Supreme Court Arizona ruling could shape immigration reform
San Francisco Chronicle — States Must Honor Gun Rights U.S. High Court Says