Kiryas Joel vs. The Pope
michael.mcconnell at LAW.UTAH.EDU
Sat Aug 23 17:12:58 PDT 1997
Today's newspaper reports that the Administration has
decided to lift the ban on travel to Cuba to permit the
Archdiocese of Miami to send a cruise ship with worshipers
to attend the upcoming papal mass. A sensible accommodation
to religious worship, many of us might say.
But Kiryas Joel struck down an accommodation partly on the
ground that only one religious group was accommodated and
there is "no guarantee" that other groups would get similar
treatment. Do those who think KJ was rightly decided think
it is unconstitutional to lift the ban on travel to Cuba?
Is there any guarantee that a less popular religion under
similar circumstances would get a similar accommodation?
Isn't this further evidence that KJ was wrongly decided (at
least on this point)?
(Or does it matter that this action was taken by the
executive, while KJ involved a statute? Is there an
implicit separation of powers dimension to the
Establishment Clause? If so, why?)
-- Michael McConnell (U of Utah)
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