Against Circumspection: Judges, Religious Symbols, and Signs of Moral Independence

in Benjamin L Berger and Richard Moon, eds., Religion and the Exercise of Public Authority (Oxford and Portland, OR: Hart Publishing, 2016).

Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper Forthcoming

22 Pages Posted: 13 May 2019

See all articles by Benjamin L. Berger

Benjamin L. Berger

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

This chapter questions the interpretation of religious ­ signs and symbols — and the interpretive possibilities that emerge when we demand more from one another in thinking about such symbols — by ­ examining the question of judges and religious dress in the particular context of the judge’s role as wielding the coercive force of the state through the exercise of criminal punishment. I advance the argument that recent debates have proceeded on a misleadingly simplistic approach to understanding the meaning of signs of religious belonging and identity in this setting and that, with this, we miss an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the virtues that we hope to find in our public officials.

Keywords: religious symbols, secularism, judges, judicial independence, punishment

Suggested Citation

Berger, Benjamin L., Against Circumspection: Judges, Religious Symbols, and Signs of Moral Independence (2016). in Benjamin L Berger and Richard Moon, eds., Religion and the Exercise of Public Authority (Oxford and Portland, OR: Hart Publishing, 2016).; Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3371510

Benjamin L. Berger (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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