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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Co-religionist Commerce

Since I'm no expert on election politics, I figure I'll leave those posts to the election law gurus like Franita Tolson and my Pepperdine colleague Derek Muller.  

Instead, I wanted to spend a couple of posts discussing what I take to be the rise of "co-religionist commerce" (full disclosure: my soon to be co-author Barak Richman coined the phrase).  What I mean by the phrase is the relationships and interactions between members of the same religious community that are simultaneously religious and commercial.  Prime examples of co-religionist commerce include various types of religious legal instruments such as sharia compliant financial insturments, employment agreements with religious institutions, Islamic mahr contracts, and wills that divide up money in accordance with religious principles.  

Of course, once you have these various forms of religious legal instruments, it's only natural that litigation over religious torts comes next.  The recent class action lawsuit against Hebrew National for having insufficiently kosher hotdogs serves as a great example of how co-religionist commerce spills over into the tort context - as does the recent allegation leveled against the Rabbinical Assembly for functioning as a cartel.  If you have religious legal insturments then you'll invariably have religious torts too.

The challenge of co-religionist commerce is that it poses a host of unique private law and public law questions each of which threaten to destabilize the predicatbility and enforceability of legal arragnements that simultaneously touch upon religious and commercial interests - questions that I plan on exploring in my next batch of posts.

Posted by Michael Helfand on November 7, 2012 at 09:05 PM | Permalink


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