S3, Ep. 04: Searching for sincerity and standards: SCOTUS on religious rites in the execution chamber

Amanda and Holly discuss the Ramirez v. Collier oral arguments.

Nov 18, 2021

The Supreme Court brought the execution chamber into the courtroom as it heard arguments about the activities clergy can perform at the moment of death. Amanda and Holly share clips from the arguments in Ramirez v. Collier and discuss issues raised by the justices. From questions about sincerity of religious belief to the key laws that protect the religious exercise of prisoners, hear what the justices focused on and learn about the arguments made by both sides. In segment three, Amanda and Holly discuss the roles of pastors in cases like this and how churches connect with prisoners. 

Segment one (starting at 00:43):

Amanda and Holly previewed the Ramirez v. Collier case in episode two this season — you can listen to that on your feed and access show notes at this link.

This Texas Tribune article by Jolie McCullough provides a helpful overview of the case: U.S. Supreme Court weighs religion’s place in the Texas death chamber.

During the conversation, Amanda and Holly played clips from the oral arguments. You can listen to the entire argument at this CSPAN link.

The clips played in this segment were:

  • Justice Samuel Alito, starting at 16:52 in the oral argument.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts, starting at 47:20 in the oral argument.

To learn more about the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), visit BJConline.org/RLUIPA.

Segment two (starting at 19:11)

Read the brief BJC joined in the Ramirez v. Collier case at this link.

The clips from oral arguments played in this segment were:

  • Justice Brett Kavanaugh, starting at 9:23 in the oral argument. 
  • Justice Amy Coney Barrett, starting at 1:05:31 in the oral argument. 
  • Justice Elena Kagan, starting at 1:26:32 in the oral argument. 


Segment three (starting at 34:48)

Amanda and Holly talked about this article by Robert Barnes in the Washington Post that shares background on the pastor at the center of the case: Supreme Court considers a minister’s role at the time an inmate is put to death


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