Certiorari Granted in Legislative Prayer Case

The Supreme Court has granted cert. in Town of Greece v. Galloway, a case out of New York in which the Second Circuit held in an opinion by Judge Guido Calabresi that the town’s practice of allowing volunteer private citizens to open town board meetings with a prayer violated the Establishment Clause. The last Supreme Court decision to address this precise issue was Marsh v. Chambers (1983), where the Court in a majority decision by Chief Justice Burger upheld the particular practice at issue in Nebraska. Courts of appeals have taken different approaches to the issue post-Marsh, even within the same circuit (see, e.g., the Fourth Circuit’s very different approaches in Joyner v. Forsyth CountyWynne v. Town of Great Falls, and Simpson v. Chesterfield County) so I suppose it was on the Court’s radar. But one never knows exactly why the Court decides to take up an issue.

For some discussion of the Second Circuit decision, see this post.

UPDATE: Interesting early posts on the case by Eugene Volokh and Paul Horwitz.

The Top Five New Law & Religion Papers on SSRN

From SSRN’s list of most frequently downloaded law and religion papers posted in the last 60 days, here are the current top five. Since last week, Laycock and Berg have risen to #4, Gaylord has dropped to #5, and Koppelman has been replaced by Balkin:

1. ‘The Divine Institution of Marriage’: An Overview of LDS Involvement in the Proposition 8 Campaign by Kaimipono David Wenger (Thomas Jefferson School of Law) [495 downloads]

2. God and the Profits: Is There Religious Liberty for Money-Makers? by Mark Rienzi (Catholic U. of America – Columbus School of Law) [303 downloads]

3. Must We Be Faithful to Original Meaning?  by Jack M. Balkin       (Yale  U. – Law School) [205 downloads]

4. Protecting Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty by Douglas Laycock (U. of Virginia School of Law) and Thomas C. Berg (U. of St. Thomas School of Law) [174 downloads] (Moved up from #5)

5. For-Profit Corporations, Free Exercise, and the HHS Mandate  by Scott Gaylord (Elon U. School of Law) [153 downloads]