Franco-American Legal Seminar 2012
Religion, Law, and the State in the United States, France, and Europe
This year’s Franco-American Legal Seminar, involving students and faculty from the University of Maine School of Law (Portland, Maine), the Faculté de Droit, des Sciences Économiques et de Gestion of the Université du Maine (Le Mans, France), and the Faculté de Droit et de Science Politique of the Université de Rennes 1 (Rennes, France), will take place in the United States between March 18 and March 24, 2012. This year’s subject is “Religion, Law, and the State in the United States, France, and Europe.” Eight American law students and three professors will participate along with an equal number of French law students and law professors from the French law schools in Le Mans and Rennes.
American students participating in the Seminar will enroll in a three credit course that will meet before the Seminar to study the relevant law in the United States, France, and Europe, and to prepare to engage in discussions with their French counterparts. Each student will prepare a substantial research paper that treats an aspect of the subject in depth.
The Seminar will begin in New York City, where the group will visit the United Nations, the New York City Commission of Human Rights, a major non-governmental organization concerned with human rights, a major international law firm, and other political and legal institutions to meet with officials and lawyers to discuss legal questions pertaining to the relationship between religion, law, and the state. Discussion will focus on how political and legal institutions protect the freedom of individuals to exercise their religion of choice (“free exercise”) and the proper relationship of religion to the state (“establishment”).
The group will then travel to Portland, where French and American law students will discuss texts read in common, present papers on specific aspects of the subject, and engage in discussion comparing American, French, and European problems and approaches to their resolution.
An important part of the Seminar this year is a conference organized by the University of Maine School of Law and the Department of Political Science of the University of Southern Maine on March 22-23, 2012, on the subject of this year’s Seminar. The conference will explore the legal, political, social, and cultural aspects of the relationship of law, religion, and the state in the United States, France, and Europe. The conference will open with a keynote address by Professor Joseph Weiler (NYU School of Law), a leading expert on law and religion. Professor Weiler recently argued the important case of Lautsi v. Italy before the European Court of Human Rights. Other leading scholars, from both France and the United States, will participate.
Franco-American Legal Seminar 2013
This year's Franco-American Legal Seminar will take place in France between March 1, and March 10, 2013.