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Periodical Summaries 2001

Gary S. Gilden, Coda to William Penn’s Overture: Safeguarding Non-Mainstream Religious Liberty Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, 4 U.Pa. J.Const.L. 81 (November, 2001). Discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1990 decision in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 US 872, where the court held that the laws of general applicability that had the effect of burdening an individual’s religious faith no longer needed to be justified by a compelling governmental interest, but would pass constitutional muster whenever there was a rational basis for the law. Strict scrutiny would still be reserved for three narrow circumstances. Goes on to discuss the holding in Commonwealth v. Edmunds, where the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated four factors that litigants should brief whenever presenting or defending a state constitutional claim and that Article I, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution insists that an individual must endure a burden on religion only where government proves a compelling interest and that no alternatives less restrictive of religion exist to achieve that interest. Also discusses the broader religious protections under Article I, section 3 and the history of that provision.

Marcy Smorey-Giger, The Effect of the Environmental Rights Amendment: How Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution Has Impacted Environmental Law in Pennsylvania, 35 Juris No. 1, 35 (2001).