The article approaches critically the balancing between freedom of religion and the enforcement of disability antidiscrimination law followed by the Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor v. E.E.O.C. Enforcing disability antidiscrimination law is a compelling interest, as it finds a very strong philosophical justification, making thus the result of the case contrary to the philosophical conception of a well-ordered society. Doing away with the social construct of disability is a compelling interest as it is a universalisable interest, an interest upon which there can be an overlapping consensus independently of a person’s comprehensive, religious or not, vision of the good. Reference to the ministerial exception to justify exempting employers from the disability antiretaliation laws is of doubtful compatibility with Employment Division, Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith. Courts can distinguish between a doctrinal and a non-doctrinal issue and abstain from controlling the first while controlling the legality of non-doctrinal issues. If the case of a qualified minister is at stake, whose substantive qualifications the Courts cannot control under the First Amendment, then disability antidiscrimination law should be enforced as it is neutral law of general applicability.
The Article argues that criminalization of attempted suicide is justified only on the basis of a paternalistic conception of the state, which was dominant in the thought of the ancients. Modernity, on the other hand, is based on the distinction between the social, political, and moral spheres, and the recognition of autonomy concerning the fundamental life decisions of the person. Nonetheless, it has been argued that human dignity dictates the criminalization of suicide as the abuse of the right to autonomy. This Article critiques this contention, concluding instead that human dignity implies a degree of autonomy sufficient to decide whether life is meaningful and what makes it so, even if this particular type of freedom leads to one's suicide.
Six years after prohibiting the wearing of headscarf by students in public schools, the French state passed a law prohibiting the wearing of the burka in public places. In the United States there is more tolerance for wearing signs of religious affiliation. This difference in the legal responses can be understood in reference to a different background understanding of the fundamental presuppositions of republicanism in the two legal and political orders, which also defines their conception of secularism. The law enacted in France can be understood in a general frame of a paternalistic state, which is seen as legitimized to dictate to the citizens the proper exercise of their reason. In the United States the dominant understanding of republicanism attempts to reconcile the natural rights philosophy with the conception of the common good. The trust towards the use of collective power and the legislature dominant in France can be opposed to the distrust towards the same elements in the United States.