How would Brett Kavanaugh rule in Supreme Court religion cases?

Sep 5, 2018

By Mark Silk

If the Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, there is every reason to think that the court will become more accommodating to conservative religious interests and concerns. But it won’t necessarily become as accommodating as those on the religious right would like.

Their bill of particulars against an institution they have long held in suspicion goes all the way back to the decisions that mark the origin of today’s culture war — the banning of teacher-led prayer and Bible reading in the public schools in 1962 and 1963. In 1968 the court prohibited state law forbidding the teaching of evolution. In 1973 it established women’s constitutional right to abortion — which has been the central focus of conservative religious politics for the past 40 years. And in 2015, it established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Subsequently the court barred officially sponsored prayers at public school graduations and football games and placed limits on religious displays — crosses, creches and Ten Commandments plaques — in public spaces. Between 1986 and 2015, it went from upholding laws against sodomy to finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

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