Summum and the Establishment Clause
Bernadette A. Meyler
Cornell University - School of Law
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, equalityAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 26, 2009
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