Thursday, May 29, 2014
Check out my colleague Gerry Bradley's Public Discourse piece on the Town of Greece case. A taste:
. . . Greece seems to have inaugurated—or renewed, with a fresh commitment—a partnership between constitutional doctrine and historical practice.
It is too early to say where this alliance will take the law. But it could preserve some important practices that, although presently lawful, would be vulnerable to any Supreme Court majority that shares the Establishment Clause interpretation of the Greece dissenters. Among these potential targets are tax exemptions for churches and other religious institutions, conscientious exemption from general laws, and a host of public-religious collaborations in projects that serve the common good (in health, education, welfare, and so on). The American tradition of such collaboration dates back to the founding, when most of what we now think of as “public” services were supplied by churches, often at public expense.
Some other practices that are now constitutionally endangered, such as prayers at public school occasions and the display of the Ten Commandments in public places, could also be buttressed by Greece. . . .