Book Review: Separation Anxiety: The End of American Religious Freedom?

Constitutional Commentary, Forthcoming

SUNY Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-024

22 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2014 Last revised: 4 Dec 2014

See all articles by Anna Su

Anna Su

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 1, 2014

Abstract

This is a review essay on Steven D. Smith's new book The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom. In this review, I consider the uses of history in Religion Clause jurisprudence and question the need for deep origins in excavating the origins of the American principles of separation of church and state and freedom of conscience. Subsequently, I evaluate Smith’s argument that the Supreme Court ended the golden age of American religious freedom when it put a thumb onto the scale and transformed religious freedom questions and answers into hard constitutional law. I argue that these decisions are as responsible for the remarkable religious pluralism that exists in American society today as much as for the contemporary secular extremism that Smith deplores. In the last part of the essay, I pose a brief account of history and judicial review as two technologies of constraint with a particular view to the upcoming consolidated cases before the Supreme Court.

Keywords: Religion Clauses, First Amendment

Suggested Citation

Su, Anna, Book Review: Separation Anxiety: The End of American Religious Freedom? (April 1, 2014). Constitutional Commentary, Forthcoming; SUNY Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-024. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2419139

Anna Su (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

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