Two hundred fifty Georgetown University Law Center (the name of the law school) faculty, staff and students signed the following statement:
The undersigned faculty members, administrators and students of Georgetown University Law Center and other law schools strongly condemn the recent personal attacks on our student, Sandra Fluke. Ms. Fluke has had the courage to publicly defend and advocate for her beliefs about an important issue of widespread concern. She has done so with passion and intelligence. And she has been rewarded with the basest sort of name-calling and vilification, words that aim only to belittle and intimidate. As scholars and teachers who aim to train public-spirited lawyers, no matter what their politics, to engage intelligently and meaningfully with the world, we abhor these attacks on Ms. Fluke and applaud her strength and grace in the face of them.
Here’s what was missing:
We believe firmly in the rights protected by the First Amendment, and by appearing before a congressional panel Ms. Fluke was fulfilling “the right of the people … to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Yet the First Amendment contains other protections, and starts with the words “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ….”
While we defend Ms. Fluke’s right to appear before Congress, we also defend the right of Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institute of higher learning in the United States, to be free from laws of Congress prohibiting the free exercise of religion, and we condemn Ms. Fluke for advocating the use of the police powers of the state to trample on religious freedom in violation of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution.
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