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Publication Date



Strict scrutiny and the free exercise of religion have had an uneasy relationship in American jurisprudence. In this Article, we trace the history of strict scrutiny in free exercise cases and outline how it applies today. Then, using a unique dataset of cases from a 25-year period, we detail the characteristics of these cases. Finally, we discuss the implications for future cases. Our research indicates that even though claimants currently win a large percentage of cases, those victories might not be durable.


Constitutional law, religious liberty, Supreme Court of the United States, SCOTUS, free exercise clause, compelling interest, undue burden, empirical legal studies

Publication Title

Montana Law Review

Publication Citation

75 Mont. L. Rev. 275 (2017)