February 22, 2021

Sarah DugginOn February 19, 2021, Catholic Law faculty members gathered virtually for this month’s installation of the Faculty Research Series. Hosted by Professor Cara H. Drinan, Director of Faculty Research, the group explored the first draft of Professor Sarah H. Duggin’s work-in-progress entitled, “Tear Gas, Flash Grenades, and the First Amendment: The Government's Unconstitutional Assault on St. John's - Lafayette Square.”

As an Episcopal priest in Washington, D.C., Duggin’s work was spurred on by this summer’s events at St. John’s Church - Lafayette Square, in which former-President Donald Trump made a speech in front of the church after unmarked officers cleared the church’s patio of Black Lives Matter protesters and clergy. Duggin and her colleague, Donald Crane, have been working to structure the legal discussion about the events and protect religious institutions—like St. John’s—from future incidents. At this stage in the process, Duggin’s work is focused primarily on the First Amendment issues of Free Exercise and Compelled Speech. To begin the discussion, Duggin provided background on the events at the church, the potential lawsuit that followed in the wake of the government’s actions, and the lack of previous research on “assaults on churches.” Duggin then opened the discussion to get thoughts and feedback from her colleagues.

The Faculty Research Series will be held monthly for the remainder of the year. Up next, Professor India Thusi, Associate Professor of Law at Delaware Law School, will discuss her work which examines racial and sexual hierarchies as they relate to policing, race, and gender on March 19, 2021. Please check the News and Events page for additional information.