Symposium on Greece v. Galloway

May 6

SCOTUSBlog is hosting a mini-symposium on the Supreme Court’s decision Monday in Town of Greece v. Galloway. Worth reading for those who are interested in the case. Here’s one of the first entries, by my friend Chad Flanders:

Town of Greece v. Galloway is a case about religious diversity – how to recognize it and how to accommodate it. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion upheld one version of recognizing diversity, which we might call “deep” diversity or “thick” diversity. On that view, diversity is best preserved by allowing each particular religious faith to express itself, no holds barred, provided that every other religious faith gets its turn.

But there is another way of acknowledging diversity, found in Justice Kagan’s dissent. That view, which we might call “consensus” diversity or “thin” diversity, responds to diversity by trying to find some common denominator between faiths, so that all faiths are placated, and no one faith is exalted over others. We respect diversity by each agreeing to tone down our particular faith, so as to respect the faith of others. …

And here is the other early entry, by Eric Rassbach, arguing that both opinions mark a shift to a “historical approach” to interpreting the establishment clause:

[H]istory is the battlefield on which the opposing opinions meet. …. This … approach has several advantages. Rather than take the endorsement test approach of forcing judicial officers into the uncomfortable and irreducibly subjective role of psychological representative of society, the historical approach gives judges objective facts to work with. The context for any given practice that is challenged is no longer the judge’s mind, but the ascertainable facts of historical tradition.

Will Baude is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School, where he teaches constitutional law and federal courts. His recent articles include Rethinking the Federal Eminent Domain Power, (Yale Law Journal, 2013), and Beyond DOMA: State Choice of Law in Federal Statutes, (Stanford Law Review, 2012).
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