The seventy-ninth volume of the Albany Law Review hosted its annual fall symposium on October 22, 2015 at Albany Law School. Each year the journal continues its proud and honored tradition of hosting symposia on emerging legal issues to highlight their impact on society. (1) This year's symposium brought scholars and practitioners together from across the country to Albany to discuss the complex, controversial, and contemporary issues surrounding religious freedom.
The symposium, entitled: My Religion, My Rules: Examining the Impact of RFRA Laws on Individual Rights, featured a panel discussion that provided an overview of current federal and state legislation that either permits or prohibits religious activities (focusing primarily on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the law at issue in the Supreme Court's controversial Hobby Lobby decision in 2014). Additionally, the discussion highlighted the role of religion in today's society and whether it should be protected or diminished.
This year we were honored to have Professor Vincent Bonventre as the moderator of the panel. Currently, Professor Bonventre is a Professor of Law at Albany Law School where he teaches courses in criminal, constitutional, and international law. He earned his B.S. from Union College, and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. Subsequently, Professor Bonventre earned his M.A.P.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. In the interim, he returned to the Army and did criminal work with the Judge Advocate General's Corps. Following his work with JAG Corps, Professor Bonventre clerked for two judges of the New York State Court of Appeals. Between those clerkships, he served as a Supreme Court Judicial Fellow, having been selected by Chief Justice Warren Burger. After his clerkships, Professor Bonventre began his career in academia at Albany Law School.
Louise Melling is a Deputy Legal Director at the ACLU and the Director of its Center for Liberty, which involves the ACLU's work on women's rights; reproductive freedom; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights; and freedom of religion and belief. In this role, she leads the work of the ACLU to address the intersection of religious freedom and equal treatment, among other issues. Prior to her role as Deputy Legal Director, Ms. Melling was Director of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, which oversaw nationwide litigation, public education campaigns, as well as advocacy...