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Litigators with experience in the field of religious liberty believe that courts do not seem to take religious liberty claims and defenses very seriously; however, it is difficult to know why. To be sure, the anecdotal evidence is certainly there, not only in the reported cases, but also in the actual courtroom experiences of those who attempt to raise religious liberty claims and defenses. In one Texas tort case, a trial court judge stated that she would not permit the Church "to hide behind the first amendment;" in a Maryland case a number of years ago, I was asked by a State trial court judge what the federal constitution had to do with the issues being litigated. These anecdotes affirm the existence of a problem, but do not convey much information. Selected members of the law faculty at the Catholic University of America agreed to analyze the issue and to look carefully at each component part.' The result is the following discussion.



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