At his inauguration on January 20, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower took an unprecedented step: after taking the oath of office, he led the nation in prayer. During his prayer, which historian Kevin Kruse notes helped make Eisenhower’s inauguration as much a “religious consecration” as a “political ceremony,” the new president asked God to “make full and complete [the executive branch’s] dedication to the service of the people.” Eisenhower’s professed dedication to serve all the citizens of the United States and his willingness to rely upon God’s help were not entirely new.
Amid the chorus of Facebook likes and rainbow images, it was easy to overlook a third critical SCOTUS ruling.
The Supreme Court reflects the politics of the moment. And two recent decisions are in line with a shift of the current court toward the right.
If you haven't read Justice Kagan's dissent to the Supreme Court's pro-governmental-prayer decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway, you should.
Last week's Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, which lifted aggregate limits on how much political donors can give, was not the most clear-cut conservative victory ever. Elected Democrats are officially unhappy, but their fundraisers won't mind the extra cash. Yet the decision is clearly a setback for liberals—as distinct from Democratic party interests—and not just because other people don't tend to be rich people's top policy concern.
I am a woman of faith who longs for the reduction of poverty, the empowerment of women, and an individual's right to practice religion—and an individual right to practice religion ought to be protected from corporate personhood's religious whims.
The courts have been inundated with cases from corporations that refuse to provide insurance for contraception based on the religious beliefs of their owners. The Supreme Court will be hearing the cases soon.
In a recent editorial calling for same-sex marriage to be legal, the Century editors noted that if and when legalization happens at the national level, the First Amendment will protect religious groups that have their own position on the question. The government won’t, for example, be able to force a church or minister to perform a same-sex wedding against their will. Yet as Mark Silk notes, a range of religious liberty questions will likely have to be addressed—and probably litigated.
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to consider whether to grant review of the Defense of Marriage Act. This follows the recent appellate court decision declaring the 16-year-old law unconstitutional. Judges in New York and Boston have now said DOMA violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause and interferes with a state’s right to set marriage eligibility requirements. But the final word will come from the Supreme Court.