A Prayer for Liberals
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
Early reactions to the Supreme Court’s decision this week to uphold sectarian legislative prayers in Town of Greece v Galloway have been mostly critical from the left. That is not surprising: One might expect the political response among pundits and academics to be as predictable as the 5–4 split between the justices. But it turns out that some liberals, including some prominent progressive thinkers and, for that matter, the Obama administration, are either sanguine about or affirmatively happy with the decision. For example, Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law School, has endorsed Justice Kennedy’s plurality opinion on the grounds that only government coercion should trigger a violation of the Establishment Clause. As long as the government does not force you to do or say anything religious, he says, and provided that it does not proselytize or denigrate other religions, the government can endorse whatever religious messages the majority prefers.