Commentary: Exploiting Mixed Speech
California Law Review Circuit, Vol. 6, p. 37, 2015
8 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2015 Last revised: 22 May 2015
Date Written: March 6, 2015
The Supreme Court has been taking advantage of mixed speech – that is, speech that is both private and governmental – to characterize challenged speech in the way that ultimately permits the government to sponsor Christian speech. In Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, a free speech case where the government accepted a Christian Ten Commandments monument but rejected a Summum Seven Aphorisms one, the Court held that privately donated monuments displayed in public parks were government speech as opposed to private speech and therefore not subject to free speech limits on viewpoint discrimination. In Town of Greece v. Galloway, an establishment case where the local government invited overwhelmingly Christian clergy to give a prayer before town meetings, the Court found no Establishment Clause violation in part because it attributed constitutionally troubling aspects of the speech to the private speakers rather than to the government.
Keywords: Speech, Religion, Free Speech, Establishment, Ten Commandments, prayers, Summum, Pleasant City, Greece, Galloway
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