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'Things That Are Not Caesar’s': The Story of Kedroff v. St. Nicholas Cathedral

FIRST AMENDMENT STORIES, Richard W. Garnett, Andrew Koppelman, eds., Foundation Press 2011

Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 11-27

36 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2011  

Richard W. Garnett

Notre Dame Law School

Date Written: July 27, 2011

Abstract

This chapter, from Foundation Press’s forthcoming volume First Amendment Stories, examines closely the background, context, and implications of the Supreme Court’s underappreciated but highly significant decision in Kedroff v. St. Nicholas Cathedral. It is suggested that Kedroff – like the Steel Seizure case, which was argued and decided during the same year – reminds us of the importance of the structural devices employed in our Constitution to protect liberties and enhance democracy. These devices include, of course, the separation of powers and federalism, as well as the pluralistic principle of church-state separation, correctly understood. As Mark DeWolfe Howe observed, in a short essay published in the Harvard Law Review soon after the Kedroff decision, the Court in that case, by affirming the constitutional basis of church autonomy, engaged “a classic problem of political theory,” that is, the “pluralistic thesis . . . that government must recognize that it is not the sole possessor of sovereignty,” or, as another writer put it, that “Caesar . . . is only Caesar, [and so should] forswear any attempt to demand what is God’s.”

Keywords: First Amendment, religious freedom, religious liberty, Free Exercise, Establishment Clause, church autonomy

JEL Classification: K1, K19, K39

Suggested Citation

Garnett, Richard W., 'Things That Are Not Caesar’s': The Story of Kedroff v. St. Nicholas Cathedral (July 27, 2011). FIRST AMENDMENT STORIES, Richard W. Garnett, Andrew Koppelman, eds., Foundation Press 2011; Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 11-27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1896266

Richard W. Garnett (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

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P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
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