John G. Wrench


The European Court of Human Rights’ 2018 decision in E.S. v. Austria upheld an Austrian court’s conviction based on “disparaging religious doctrine.” The Court took this opportunity to reaffirm problematic, decades-old precedent, while creating new contradictions in its analysis of free expression claims. Despite the EU’s modern opposition to the criminalization of blasphemy, E.S. v. Austria in effect sends a contradictory message. This Comment explores the roots of the Court’s struggle to find an appropriate balance between the values of religious tolerance and freedom of expression, analyzes the Court’s recent decision, and suggests future paths to recalibrate the Court’s approach to these two fundamental rights.