Vincent Phillip Muñoz
Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion & Public Life
Areas of Expertise
Constitutional law, American politics, political philosophy
Muñoz’s recent research has focused on the theme of religious liberty and the U.S. Constitution. His scholarship on the meaning of the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty has been cited by the Supreme Court. In his award-winning book, “God and the Founders: Madison, Washington, and Jefferson,” he questions the traditional view of the founding fathers’ stance on religious liberty. Muñoz rejects the consensus view that the founding fathers agreed about the meaning of religious liberty by showing how presidents James Madison, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson disagreed about the separation of church and state. He explains why the founders’ disagreement means that no single church-state position can claim the exclusive authority of America’s founding history. In doing so, Muñoz reveals how the founders have been misused by Supreme Court justices, demonstrates the limits of “originalism” in church-state jurisprudence and explains how the founders’ different positions would adjudicate contemporary church-state controversies.