This week, Amanda and Holly explore questions swirling around vaccine mandates and religious exemptions related to COVID-19. Is there a newfound religious awakening that is leading to new requests? Are people gaming the system? Dive into the issue that is on the mind of employers, government officials and individuals across the country. Amanda and Holly discuss the religious liberty rationale for religious exemptions, the compelling government interest in mandating vaccines and how those values have been balanced in the past and in dealing with the present pandemic. They also talk about some of the difficult decisions employers are facing as they try to keep their workforce safe, healthy and productive. In the third segment, they look at the broader impact of COVID-19, including new reports on the trustworthiness of clergy when it comes to this topic.
The Supreme Court is about to hear arguments in a type of case it usually addresses in its emergency or “shadow” docket: Questions surrounding clergy and religious exercise in the execution chamber. Amanda and Holly review the issue by considering cases over the past few years, including how the justices have shifted over time, with strong words from Justice Elena Kagan and the arrival of Justice Amy Coney Barrett. In segment two, they dive into the first religious liberty case the Court will hear oral arguments this term in Ramirez v. Collier (starting at 14:50), including the statute at the heart of the case: RLUIPA. In segment three, Amanda and Holly step back to discuss their personal experiences visiting death row early in their legal careers.