Prescribing Orthodoxy

54 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2010 Last revised: 22 Jun 2010

See all articles by Kelly Sarabyn

Kelly Sarabyn

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 26, 2010


In West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the Court famously held that no state could prescribe an ideological orthodoxy. Yet more than sixty years later, the constitutional doctrines governing that proscription are in disarray. This article argues that Barnette’s proscription should be understood as banning the state from intentionally utilizing non-rational methods to purposely shape citizens’ ideological beliefs. After espousing this theory, the article will examine the unconstitutional condition and government speech doctrines, and demonstrate how a constitutional principle banning the prescription of orthodoxy provides them with a much-needed coherence.

Keywords: Orthodoxy, Liberty, Right of Private Conscience, First Amendment, Government Speech, Unconstitutional Conditions

Suggested Citation

Sarabyn, Kelly, Prescribing Orthodoxy (April 26, 2010). Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal, Vol. 8, p. 367, 2010. Available at SSRN:

Kelly Sarabyn (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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