Category Archives: First Amendment

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Scalia’s Establishment Clause

Justice Antonin Scalia via

Justice Antonin Scalia via

Dissenting from the denial of certiorari review in Elmbrook School District v. Doe, a case presenting the question of whether a school can hold its graduation in a church building, Justice Scalia had this to say:

Some there are—many, perhaps—who are offended by public displays of religion. Religion, they believe, is a personal matter; if it must be given external manifestation, that should not occur in public places where others may be offended. I can understand that attitude: It parallels my own toward the playing in public of rock music or Stravinsky. And I too am especially annoyed when the intrusion upon my inner peace occurs while I am part of a captive audience, as on a municipal bus or in the waiting room of a public agency.

Scalia’s view threatens to reduce the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to a matter of personal taste.  The Court’s denial of the petition for certiorari, however, lets stand the Third Circuit decision that held the graduation ceremony on a church did violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

There’s more about the case on the Constitutional Law Professors blog here.