Category Archive: Greece v. Galloway

May 06 2014

Supreme Court upholds ceremonial prayer in Greece v. Galloway

The US Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the prayer practices of the town of Greece were constitutional. The court voted 5-4 with the usual alignment of Kennedy, Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas in the majority, with Kennedy writing the majority opinion. You can see all the opinions here and Lyle Denniston has some analysis of …

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Feb 07 2014

Prayer at government functions-11: Some final thoughts and predictions

In this final post of this series, I will look at the possible range of rulings that the US Supreme Court may come down with in the Greece v. Galloway case and then suggest what I think may happen.

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Feb 05 2014

Prayer at government functions-10: The oral arguments in Greece v. Galloway

In the previous post in this series, I set up the problem facing the Supreme Court as it discusses the Greece case. Can the Court come up with guidelines for prayers that meet the earlier high standard of requiring strict neutrality between religions and between religion and non-religion or even the later lower standard set …

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Jan 31 2014

Prayer at government functions-9: The reasoning of the Appeals Court in the Greece case

To understand the oral arguments presented at the Supreme Court in the Greece case that I will discuss in the next post in this series, one needs to look at the reasoning of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that overturned the practice. Recall that they decided that the ‘history and tradition’ reasoning used …

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Jan 29 2014

The Greece v. Galloway symposium

The symposium held yesterday at the law school at my university went very well, I thought. The weather was brutal, with low temperatures and winds making it seem much colder. Combined with the snow left over from the previous night that had turned into slush and ice making walking unpleasant, to put it mildly, I …

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Jan 27 2014

Prayer at government functions-8: Why government prayer is never purely ceremonial

In his dissent in Marsh v. Chambers, justice William Brennan reinforced the Supreme Court’s earlier precedents that while there may be situations in which certain kinds of prayers may pass constitutional muster, it should never be the case that the government actually designs the prayers or acts as a censor to determine what prayers are …

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Jan 26 2014

Symposium on the Greece v. Galloway case

Just a reminder for those who are in the Cleveland area that I will be part of a panel that will discuss the Greece v. Galloway case at an event that is free and open to the public. The actual title of the session is (for some obscure reason) Religion and the Constitution in Modern …

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Jan 24 2014

Prayer at government functions-7: Why the ‘history and tradition’ argument is faulty

In the 1983 precedent-setting case of Marsh v. Chambers that found ceremonial prayer at the opening of legislative sessions in Nebraska to be constitutional, one of the three dissenting voices was Justice William J. Brennan, himself a practicing Catholic. He argued strongly against the kind of ad hoc reasoning being advanced by chief justice Warren …

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Jan 23 2014

Prayer at government functions-6: Introducing the ‘proselytize, advance, or disparage’ standard

The Greece v. Galloway case of the constitutionality of opening town meetings with prayer is framed by the 1983 precedent of Marsh v. Chambers. Briefly, the facts of the Marsh case are as follows.

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Jan 22 2014

Prayer at government functions-5: Introducing the endorsement test

The Lemon test to judge whether violations of the Establishment Clause had occurred is not always easy to apply in concrete cases and some justices of the US Supreme Court have often expressed its unhappiness but others have opposed outright rejecting it. This is especially true of the second ‘effect’ prong which is hard to …

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