Can We Make Sense of 'Neutrality' in the Religion Clause Cases?: Seven Rescue Attempts, and a Viable Alternative
61 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2020 Last revised: 23 Sep 2020
Date Written: May 18, 2012
This Article addresses the controversial question of 'neutrality' as a crucial test in a number of important Religion Clause cases. The idea of 'neutrality' in the Religion Clause context turns out to be popular, but unavoidably incoherent.
The Article then explores seven alternative approaches to explaining why Religion Clause neutrality tests persist, despite the evident incoherence of the concept of neutrality. None of these seven alternatives, however, holds much promise for a valuable re-interpretation or rescue of the idea of neutrality.
What is needed is not a re-interpretation of Religion Clause neutrality tests, but a replacement for such tests. The Conclusion offers coherent and useful guidance in addressing many Religion Clause cases, based on a surprising adaptation of elements from the apparently remote area of Takings Clause and police power regulation jurisprudence.
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