Center for Law and Religion Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Center for Law and Religion 10th Anniversary
November 23, 2021


Earlier this month, following a pandemic postponement, the Law School’s Center for Law and Religion celebrated its 10th anniversary with a panel program on law and religion issues before the U.S. Supreme Court followed by a dinner at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan. As a highlight of the evening, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. delivered remarks on the Center’s achievements over the past decade.

Established in 2010, the Center provides a forum for the study of law and religion from domestic, international, and comparative perspectives, aiming to:

  • Examine the role of law in the relationship between religion and the state
  • Explore the concept of law in different religious traditions
  • Promote St. John’s Vincentian mission by encouraging an open dialogue on law and religion in the local, national, and international communities

In addition to hosting a range of academic programs, the Center coordinates the Law School’s law and religion curriculum. It also hosts the Law and Religion Forum, a blog covering law and religion topics, and Legal Spirits, a podcast series on law and religion issues in the courts and wider culture.

The milestone anniversary celebration began with a panel discussion moderated by Center advisory board member Hon. Richard J. Sullivan (2nd Circuit). He led fellow federal judges Hon. Kyle Duncan (5th Circuit), Hon. Rachel Kovner (EDNY), and Hon. Steven Menashi (2nd Circuit) in a lively conversation about religious exemptions and the COVID crisis, state-funded tuition credits for religious schools, and other current law and religion controversies.

After the panel program, the Center’s board members, former student fellows, supporters, and friends enjoyed dinner and remarks from Justice Alito, who was introduced by board member Hon. Mary Kay Vyskocil (SDNY). Justice Alito spoke generally about the value of religious freedom and praised the work of the Center’s directors, Professors Mark L. Movsesian and Marc O. DeGirolami. “Justice Alito has been deeply involved in some of the Center’s projects, and it was a great honor to hear him speak about law and religion to our group,” Professor DeGirolami says.

Jordan Pamlanye '22, the Center’s current student fellow, agrees that the event was a great success and a wonderful tribute to the Center’s role at St. John’s. "The Center's 10th anniversary celebration perfectly summed up my experience as a fellow these past two years,” she shares. “The event provided me with yet another opportunity to learn about complex law and religion issues and to meet prominent lawyers and judges, including Justice Alito." 

Reflecting on the Center’s success, Professor Movsesian shares: “When it launched, we couldn’t have envisioned just how important a contribution the Center would eventually make to St. John’s and to the wider community of scholars, judges, and lawyers. And we couldn’t have made that contribution without the steady support of the Law School, our alumni, and the Center’s many friends around the world.”

To mark its 10th anniversary, the Center produced a short video highlighting its activities over the past decade. You can also view the video at the Law and Religion Forum.