Conscientious Citizenship in a Constitutional Republic

Source: Law & Liberty
by L Joseph Hebert

“When conscience comes up in a constitutional context today, it is usually in relation to the Bill of Rights. As the words of our Constitution’s First Amendment make clear, government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion or abridge the freedom of speech. Yet it remains controversial whether and when such rights may be overridden by compelling governmental interests, or to what extent accommodations must be made when impartial laws happen to conflict with the deeply held convictions of particular citizens. Though its proper contours are debatable, this sensitivity to the special protection of conscience is fundamentally true to the spirit of our institutions.” (09/18/23)