Talking About Religion in the Language of the Law: Impossible But Necessary
James Boyd White
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor Law School
Marquette Law Review, Vol. 81, No. 2 (1998): 177-202
U of Michigan Law & Econ Research Paper
As my title suggests, what has struck me most in these reflections is the simplest and most obvious fact, namely the enormous difficulty of talking about religion in the language of the law. In what follows I shall try to explain what seem to me to be some of the reasons for this, beginning with some that will be highly familiar to you, relating to the history and structure of our Constitution, then going on to some that are more speculative in nature. I will conclude by asking how, in light of these circumstances, courts ought to think about questions of religion, particularly in the context defined by the First Amendment. My aim is not to propose rules of law, but to make some suggestions about the attitudes with which judges might approach these questions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: law, religion, First Amendment, United States Constitution
JEL Classification: K10
Date posted: January 23, 2014
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