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Summum and the Establishment Clause

Bernadette A. Meyler

Stanford Law School

August, 25 2009

Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, Vol 104, p. 95, 2009
Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-028

This Symposium Essay assesses the compatibility of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent Free Speech Clause-based decision in Pleasant Grove v. Summum with extant Establishment Clause jurisprudence. The Essay first examines why, based on prior state and federal decisions, a free speech challenge to Pleasant Grove's policy of retaining a Ten Commandments monument while excluding the alternative display Summum wished to erect may have seemed more likely to succeed than a religious liberty one. It then posits that the Supreme Court's resulting neglect of the Establishment Clause implications of the case may result in future conflicts between the religion clauses -- and, in particular, the emerging emphasis on equality in religion clause adjudication -- and the position on government speech that the Court staked out in Summum.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 15

Keywords: religion, First Amendment, Ten Commandments, equality

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Date posted: August 26, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Meyler, Bernadette A., Summum and the Establishment Clause (August, 25 2009). Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, Vol 104, p. 95, 2009; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-028. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1461680

Contact Information

Bernadette A. Meyler (Contact Author)
Stanford Law School ( email )
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

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