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Mercer Law Review

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In its last few terms, the Supreme Court has decided over a half-dozen major religion clause cases. While the Court has not jettisoned accepted modes of first amendment analysis, the decisions have involved an important, if subtle, shift regarding the place and significance of religion and religious identity in American life. The religion cases that the Court has decided in the past several years suggest an alteration in the tone, if not the method, of first amendment analysis. This alteration reflects, and is reflected in, changes in the larger society. Correlatively, the religion cases frame many concerns that extend beyond the first amendment, per se, to embrace politics, ideology, and the meanings of 'person' and 'group' in American society. This Article focuses on two recent Supreme Court religion clause cases, each of which required the Court to decipher and judge religious symbols from the perspective of the first amendment, and each of which addressed the meanings of 'person' and 'group' in American society.



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