February 15, 2020


On February 6, students, faculty, and guests gathered for a lecture presented by Catholic Law’s Center for Religious Liberty. The lecture, Religious Liberty and Nondiscrimination: Are We On a Collision Course? was delivered by The Honorable Elizabeth L. Branch of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Catholic Law Professor Mark Rienzi—who directs the Center Religious Liberties—welcomed Judge Branch, noting that this talk continues a tradition of judges speaking to the Catholic Law community about religious liberty. Professor Rienzi then gave some brief background information on the Center's work, and on Judge Branch’s impressive career before turning the floor over to her.

Judge Branch began by posing the lecture’s titular question: are provisions for religious liberty and nondiscrimination on an inevitable collision course? As Judge Branch put it simply, “I think they are.” Judge Branch explained how, in serveral cases, the Supreme Court appears to be taking incremental steps toward addressing the conflict. As the number of cases involved in the conflict grows––and, in particular, as cases pit competing claims of individuals rights against one another––Judge Branch suggested that the Supreme Court will eventually be called upon to provide a more definitive resolution.

The lecture concluded with several questions from students in the audience, as Judge Branch shared on topics ranging from career advice, to how she approaches writing her opinions, to which books she recommends. Guests were then invited to an intimate reception in the Keelty Atrium.