Today, the Supreme Court heard argument in Town of Greece v. Galloway, No. 12-696, which asks whether the Town’s legislative-prayer practice violates the Establishment Clause. We previously discussed the case here.
Here is a transcript of the oral argument.
And here is a recap from Lyle Denniston. He concludes by building on a comment from Justice Kagan:
Justice Kagan tried to sum up: Isn’t the question here, she said, whether public meeting prayers with references to Jesus Christ “will be allowed in a public town session like this one?” When Laycock agreed that that was the issue, Kagan said it was a hard one, “because the Court lays down these rules and everybody thinks that the Court is being hostile to religion and people get unhappy and angry and agitated in various kinds of ways….And every time the Court gets involved in things like this, it seems to make the problem worse rather than better.”
In the coming weeks of deliberation in private, the Justices’ challenge may well begin and end with how to keep from making the problem worse. And, at that point, leaving Marsh v. Chambers intact, allowing local governments to have prayers just as state legislatures and Congress can, might be the least cause of public agitation.