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June 18, 2018

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
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Featured Program

Polygamy: A Religious Right?
Last Featured: 7/21/2000

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In this edition of Justice Talking, we take on the issue of polygamy, the practice of plural marriage. Polygamy is against the law in the U.S. Congress outlawed it in 1882 and the United States Supreme Court has ruled that it is not a religious practice protected by the Constitution. Nonetheless, some Mormons continue to engage in polygamous marriage in at least four western states, especially Utah. But polygamy has made headlines recently, since a Utah county prosecutor has charged the state`s most vocal polygamist, Tom Green, with bigamy, statutory rape and criminal nonsupport of his children. Is polygamy a religious right...or an institution that oppresses women?

Edwin B. Firmage is the Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law at the University of Utah College of Law, where he teaches courses on constitutional law, international law, and the First Amendment. Professor Firmage has published widely in national journals on matters of international and constitutional law. With Professor Collin Mangrum, he wrote the first legal history of the Mormon Church: Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900, which received the 1988 Alpha Sigma Nu Award from the National Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Professor Firmage, who has S.J.D., LL.M., and J.D. degrees from the University of Chicago Law School, has been honored with the Governor's Award in the Humanities (1990) and the University's Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence (1991).

Lynn D. Wardle joined the faculty of the J.Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University in 1978 and has taught Family Law, Conflict of Laws, Biomedical Ethics & Law, Origins of the Constitution, and Children and the Law since then. He has been a Visiting Professor at Howard University School of Law, a Scholar-in-Residence at the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, a Visiting Professor at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and taught courses at the University of Queensland School of Law, China University of Political Science and Law, and Nanjing Agricultural University Department of Law. A graduate of the Duke University School of Law, Professor Wardle clerked for Judge Anthony Sirica of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia during the Watergate coverup trial and then practiced law as a trial attorney with Streich, Lang, Weeks & Cardon in Phoenix, Arizona. A prolific author, Professor Wardle has written extensively on family law, biomedical law, and international & comparative law.

Closing Quote
"I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts; liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it."

— Judge Learned Hand from his book The Spirit of Liberty

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Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints
Foundation for the Study and Preservation of Patriarchy
Tapestry of Polygamy
United Polygamy League for Utah Rights & Liberty
Women's Religious Liberties Union
All About Mormons
Mormon Polygamy Resources
Religious Freedom, Polygamy and the Law
Zion in the Courts : A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1830-1900
by Edwin Brown Firmage, Richard Collin Mangrum (Photographer)
Freedom of Religion
“O, Christmas Tree”: Religion in the Public Square
Intelligent Design: Scientific Inquiry or Religious Indoctrination?