The AP reports on the SCOTUS discussion of Greece v Galloway yesterday.
The Supreme Court wrestled Wednesday with the appropriate role for religion in government in a case involving mainly Christian prayers at the start of a New York town’s council meetings.
The justices began their day with the marshal’s customary plea that “God save the United States and this honorable court.” They then plunged into a lively give-and-take that highlighted the sensitive nature of offering religious invocations in public proceedings that don’t appeal to everyone and governments’ efforts to police the practice.
Sigh. Why is there such a thing as the marshal’s customary plea that “God save the United States and this honorable court”? Why can’t the government and its institutions be free of this constant “customary” prodding to acknowledge a god that doesn’t exist?
The justices tried out several approaches to the issue, including one suggested by the two Greece residents who sued over the prayers to eliminate explicit references to any religion.
Justice Samuel Alito pointed to the country’s religious diversity to voice his skepticism about the call for only nonsectarian prayer. “I just don’t see how it is possible to compose anything that you could call a prayer that is acceptable to all of these groups,” Alito said.
Exactly; so don’t have a fucking prayer. Don’t have any superstitious rituals in a government setting that is not supposed to exclude people on the basis of their metaphysical beliefs. If you need to pray, do it before you get to work.
As Douglas Laycock, the University of Virginia law professor representing the residents, tried to craft an answer, Justice Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice John Roberts jumped in. “You want to pick the groups we’re going to exclude?” Scalia said. A few seconds later, Roberts chimed in, “We’ve already excluded the atheists, right?”
Right. Stop doing that.