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The papers in this symposium grow out of a conference on Religious Accommodation in the Age of Civil Rights that was held at Harvard Law School in April 2014. Co-sponsored by Harvard, the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the University of Southern California Center for Law, History and Culture, the conference was convened at a moment of intense agitation as the nation's attention was trained on the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., then before the Supreme Court. Hobby Lobby posed the question of whether closely held for-profit corporations had the right to a religious exemption from provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requiring coverage of contraceptive services in their employees' health insurance plans. More broadly, Hobby Lobby raised important questions about the meaning and contours of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), including whether businesses are "persons" covered by RFRA, how RFRA's "strict scrutiny" standard should be implemented, and what counts as a "substantial burden" on religion (and who decides). At the time our conference took place, the Supreme Court had heard oral argument in the case, but had not yet issued its decision.
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