Summum and the Establishment Clause

Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy, Vol 104, p. 95, 2009

Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-028

15 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2009  

Bernadette A. Meyler

Stanford Law School

Date Written: August, 25 2009

Abstract

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.

Keywords: religion, First Amendment, Ten Commandments, equality

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1461680

Bernadette A. Meyler (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

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