Nate Oman on Reynolds, Polygamy, and Mormonism

William and Mary Law Professor Nate Oman (Source: Southern Virginia University)

Yesterday, the Federal District Court for Utah ruled that Utah polygamy laws violated the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.District Judge Clark Waddoup, in his ruling, addressed the 1878 Reynolds v. United States Supreme Court case which determined that religious duty is not a defense against criminal charges. Specifically, it is not a defense against anti-polygamy laws.In the ruling, Judge Waddoup cited Nate Oman. Oman is the Cabell Research Professor of Law at William … [Read more...]

Breaking: Judge Rules Utah’s Anti-Polygamy Law Unconstitutional in Sister Wives Case (With Updates)

The Brown Family: Janelle, Christine, Kody, Meri, and Robyn.

Federal District Court Judge Clark Waddoup ruled today that Utah's anti-polygamy laws violate the free exercise clause of the first amendment. The case is a particularly high profile because the Plaintiffs against the state of Utah are Kody Brown and his wives. The Browns are famous from their reality show Sister Wives on the cable network TLC.From the introduction to the 91 page ruling: Before the court are the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment relating to Plaintiffs’ facial a … [Read more...]

Video: The Life of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

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I have been looking for a brief video that might serve as a good introduction to the life and times of Nelson Mandela. In particular, I was looking for something that I might share with my own kids and my future students. I really like this 12 minute biographical clip from the New York Times:Please share any thoughts, memories, or reflections in the comments below. … [Read more...]

Put The First Thanksgiving on Your Christmas List

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I loved reading The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History. It is an attempt to tell the real story of Thanksgiving in a way that draws on the methods of academic history, rather than the methods of The History Channel.After Christmas, we will see non-stop airings of documentaries about the historical Christmas and the historical Jesus. I actually enjoy this shows, but they are the donuts of historical study. Lots of mental carbohydrates, … [Read more...]

President Kennedy from Temple Square: September 26, 1963

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Less than two months before he was assassinated, President John F. Kennedy spoke in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Salt Lake Tabernacle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.It was September 26, 1963. LDS Church President David O. McKay was a host of the event."Of all the stories of American pioneers and settlers, none is more inspiring than the Mormon trail," said Kennedy. He goes on to point out that Mormons are an American success story, the story of a persecuted group the … [Read more...]

Nothing Romantic About It: A History of the Filibuster

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The United States Senate is grossly undemocratic...even without the filibuster.Today, the Senate moved to limit the use of the filibuster when it comes to certain presidential appointments.The filibuster is a mechanism within the United States Senate which allows a minority of Senators to continue the debate and, as a result, prevent a bill from being voted on. Like the Electoral College, I am fascinated by the filibuster as a political scientist. It is part of the twisted chess-like … [Read more...]

Las Vegas Vs. Online Gambling

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Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson is organizing (and funding) a large-scale lobbying push against online gambling. Adelson, the head of Las Vegas Sands which owns high end Las Vegas Strip properties including The Venetian and The Palazzo, is well known for being a major financial backer of Republicans and conservative causes.While Adelson is claiming that online gambling will be bad for families and communities (I agree with him on that), why would somebody who makes billions from gambling … [Read more...]


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