Washington Law Review


Katie Hosford


Article I, Section 11, of the Washington Constitution, titled "Religious Freedom," provides more protection for free exercise of religion and the separation of church and state than the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Because the state constitution provides broader protection for each right, a natural tension arises between the two rights. However, rather than relying on the text of the state constitution, the Supreme Court of Washington has imposed an entirely federal analysis on free exercise cases brought under Washington law. In addition, the establishment cases under Article I, Section 11, have inconsistently interpreted the language of the state constitutional provision. This Comment argues that the court should adopt a truly distinct analysis under Article I, Section 11, that would rely on the constitutional text and focus on the common goal of individual religious liberty present in both the free exercise and establishment protections. This Comment concludes that a workable framework would involve a synthesis of free exercise and establishment principles into the goal of individual religious freedom, thus alleviating the tension between the two principles.

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