Lack of sincerity

Susan Freiman at
Sat Aug 2 09:03:51 PDT 2008

Why "watered down" ?  More liberty for the insincere doesn't mean less 
liberty for the committed.  It's not as though there's only a finite 
quantity of liberty to go around.

Or am I missing your point?  Does loss of respect for a religious claim 
affect one's liberty?  Although I can see how one might make a 
speculative argument that it might make it more difficult for society to 
accept the next claim coming down the pike.


Rick Duncan wrote:
> Doug makes a great point--the cost of overprotecting questionably 
> "sincere" claims to free exercise is a general watering down of the 
> liberty for valid claims. Sounds like a good law review topic to 
> me--perhaps for a seminar paper or law review comment for a student.
> Cheers, Rick
> Rick Duncan
> Welpton Professor of Law
> University of Nebraska College of Law
> Lincoln, NE 68583-0902
> "It's a funny thing about us human beings: not many of us doubt God's 
> existence and then start sinning. Most of us sin and then start 
> doubting His existence."  --J. Budziszewski (The Revenge of Conscience)
> "Once again the ancient maxim is vindicated, that the perversion of 
> the best is the worst." -- /Id./
> --- On *Fri, 8/1/08, Douglas Laycock /<laycockd at>/* wrote:
>     From: Douglas Laycock <laycockd at>
>     Subject: Re: Lack of sincerity
>     To: religionlaw at
>     Date: Friday, August 1, 2008, 1:16 PM
>     I think Eugene is dead on about why judges concede sincerity. 
>     What's missing from his analysis is the frequent insincerity of
>     the finding of sincerity -- and the costs of that practice.
>     Nat Lewin, who often represents Orthodox Jewish groups in
>     religious liberty cases, said this years ago, and he persuaded
>     me.  Judges often say that a plaintiff is sincere, or that the
>     judge assumes he is sincere, without actually believing that he's
>     sincere.  Then, since an insincere plaintiff should lose, they
>     make sure he loses on some other ground, usually burden or
>     compelling interest -- even if they have to interpret those issues
>     in ways that undermine the whole purpose of the statute or
>     constitutional provision they claim to be enforcing.  And so we
>     get bad precedents on burden and compelling interest, created for
>     the insincere plaintiff but applicable to all plaintiffs, sincere
>     and insincere alilke.
>     Of course this is easy to suspect and hard to prove.  But I think
>     it goes on.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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