Coercion test limits
nebraskalawprof at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 30 15:32:07 PDT 2010
Prof Jamar asks: "Is a school-sponsored commencement speaker giving a Christian prayer
coercive? If the choice is not to attend or to be forced to listen to
such a prayer, is that coercive? Isn't it exactly cases like this that
lead to a less accommodationist position, more separationist, and we end
up with Lemon and endorsement?
What about a commencement speaker who gives a message endorsing cap & tax legislation to combat global warming or same-sex marriage as necessary to achieve full social equality?
The public schools do indeed create a captive audience for all school-sponsored speech, and much of this speech deeply offends members of the captive audience.
Again, I would apply the same test to all captive speech cases, as opposed to one rule for religious speech and another rule for controversial secular messages.
I would tend to allow commencement speakers to say what they want to say and allow counter-speech to provide any necessary balance.
Welpton Professor of Law
University of Nebraska College of Law
Lincoln, NE 68583-0902
"And against the constitution I have never raised a storm,It's the scoundrels who've corrupted it that I want to reform" --Dick Gaughan (from the song, Thomas Muir of Huntershill)
--- On Fri, 4/30/10, Steven Jamar <stevenjamar at gmail.com> wrote:
From: Steven Jamar <stevenjamar at gmail.com>
Subject: Coercion test limits
To: "CONLAWPROFS professors" <Conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu>
Date: Friday, April 30, 2010, 1:24 PM
Is a school-sponsored commencement speaker giving a Christian prayer coercive? If the choice is not to attend or to be forced to listen to such a prayer, is that coercive? Isn't it exactly cases like this that lead to a less accommodationist position, more separationist, and we end up with Lemon and endorsement?
Or is that OK with you because the person is not being forced to take communion or renounce his or her beliefs -- which is the only coercion you recognize? What are the limits?
Prof. Steven Jamar
Howard University School of Law
Associate Director, Institute of Intellectual Property and Social Justice (IIPSJ) Inc.
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