Offense at your door : Roman Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, judicial review, and Cantwell v. Connecticut, 1938-1940
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Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940) marked a new moment in religious liberties in the United States. In this case the Supreme Court nationalized free exercise of religion. While many legal scholars point to this case as important for precedents used in the arguments of subsequent cases, the context from which this case emerged was also important. I argue that Cantwell should also be studied for what it can tell us about religious conflict at the time. In Cantwell the Supreme Court of the United States incorporated the free exercise of religion to states, but in doing so it obscured the real religious tensions between Roman Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses and local efforts to adjudicate those conflicts.