52 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2012
Date Written: March, 27 2012
The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits legislatures from establishing an official religion. Almost thirty years ago the Supreme Court interpreted this to allow invocations by religious leaders in government meetings. Since then the Circuit Courts have struggled to coherently apply the Supreme Court’s instructions. The Court has not readdressed the issue of prayer in legislative sessions since the 1980s. This note argues that the Supreme Court should take up the issue of legislative prayer again in order to state more clearly what qualifies as a constitutional invocation. The Court’s standard should focus on the language of individual prayers and the procedures used to decide who may lead an invocation. This note also argues that a recent Circuit Court case raises the possibility of bringing a § 1983 case directly against the individual providing an opening invocation.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Kennedy, George Randolph, 'Render therefore unto Caesar the Things which are Caesar's; and unto God the Things that are God's': Keep Your God(s) Out of Our Government (March, 27 2012). Iowa Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2029962