Glucksman Ireland House NYU presents a weekend of special events about People v. Philips, the landmark 1813 case that marked the earliest known constitutional test of freedom of religion and the priest-penitent evidentiary privilege in American law. This series, April 12-14, is entitled “Religious Freedom in America, 1813 to 2013: Bicentennial Reflections on People v. Philips.”
The series begins Friday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m. with a staged reading of the play The Catholic Question by Steve DiUbaldo at Tishman Auditorium, New York University School of Law, 40 Washington Square South (between MacDougal & Sullivan streets). The contemporary play is based on a published account of the case by William Sampson, a political exile from Ireland and a Protestant who argued on behalf of the Trustees of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church on Barclay Street before the presiding judge, Mayor DeWitt Clinton. Sampson’s experience of religious-based intolerance in Ireland propelled him to persuade the court that American should not look to British common law for legal precedent when dealing with Catholics, then a small but growing minority in New York City. DiUbaldo is the recipient of an NYU Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Scholarship and the Rita Goldberg Playwright Foundation Scholarship at NYU. (Admission is Free.)
Saturday, April 13, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Glucksman Ireland House, in partnership with NYU’s Center for Religion and Media, and the Irish American Bar Association of New York, will present a symposium on religious freedom at the Tishman Auditorium, NYU School of Law (40 Washington square South between MacDougal and Sullivan streets). NYU President John Sexton will present opening emarks, and numerous researchers from around the country will provide insights into People v. Philips in the context of 19th century constitutionalism, religious exemption, evidentiary privilege, and Catholic History. Admission to the symposium is free. Immediately afterward, Glucksman Ireland House will host a Speakers Reception (5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) at its home at 1 Washington Mews (enter the Washington Mews from University Place). Space for the reception is limited; tickets to the reception are $25, and can be ordered through 212.868.4444.
Sunday, April 14, at 1 p.m., the Greenwood Cemetery will host an encore performance of DiUbaldo’s play The Catholic Question. The cemetery at 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, N.Y., is the final resting place of lawyer William Sampson and Judge DeWitt Clinton, the two major players in the 1813 court case. This reading is presented through a partnership of Glucksman Ireland House, the Green-wood Historic Trust, and the New York Irish History Roundtable. Ticket information and event details are available at www.greenwood.com.
For more informaton, contact Glucksman Ireland House at 212.998 3950 or visit http://irelandhouse.as.nyu.edu/page/home.