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Greece vs. Galloway. Identify the issue; provide the main arguments on each side of the issue Essay

Greece vs. Galloway


           When it comes to religion vs. judicial issues there is always a concern whether the government is empowered to make decisions, which affect the clergy. Conversely, questions whether the clergy is supposed to act independently while continuing dictating to its followers. There are two questions involved; the question of what is legitimate against the question of what right. A close case is Greece v. Galloway. That is, the plaintiff Susan Galloway and Linda Stephen who represented the American United Separation of Church and State against the Town Council of Greece in New York city. The duo argued that the prayers conducted by the town’s board violated the establishment clause of the first Amendment of the United States.

Identify the issue; provide the main arguments on each side of the issue

           There are ethical concerns from the case of Greece v. Galloway. On May 5, 2014, a marginally divided supreme court passed the decision against Greece v. Galloway. The majority of the five-judge bench was in the opinion of Justice Kennedy and concluded that the town’s prayer practices did not violate the clause. Different judges, therefore, wrote opinions regarding the case. Concerning the issues in that particular case, the Supreme Court did not consider whether there were any endorsement tests, which dominated the discussion in the field of government sponsored religious prayers. The problem is that from the moment Justice O’Connor introduced the endorsement concept in Lynch, until she left the court immediately after the ten commandment cases (2005), there was no definite establishment of the definition of the of Endorsements.

In addition, the court recognized the constitutional flaw in any test that would require the scrutinizing of particular prayers. Prayers in this case were ratified as sectarian or nonsectarian. In addition to that, the courts recognized the problems of parallel constitutional problems, which encouraged that the chaplains or others should direct content prayers. The problems are such preferences to prayers challenge the government to its merited power to dictate against religious questions.

Another concern is that the Jury held a dissenting opinion. This way, it was impossible for a juror to prevent the voir dire that was part of an impartial jury. The juror was biased and failed to ignore judicial instructions, which consider the aggravating and mitigating circumstances. In this case, the juror was automatically biased on person who should be excluded for the cause. Justice Kennedy position has been that few limitations should constrain the evidence considered by the Jury or sentencing judge in capital cases. Conversely, there was a problem in that Justice Kennedy finding that the decision fell squarely on Marsh when the majority attempted to restrict the consideration

Discuss why you believe this case/issue is currently important in our society

           Significantly, Greece v. Galway presents serious concerns about our society. The fact that violating prayer rights of an individual or a group presents serious ethical concerns on the applicability of freedom of rights, justifies that religious freedoms are an important consideration in the society. If the Juror decided to pass a 5-0 judgment, a serious doubt might arise in many ways. Firstly, the question whether the current injustice of a hitherto unquestioned practices might suddenly be perceived or suggested by a reading of the law. In such a situation, the inquiry must be made whether both the town adminstrators and the plaintiff feel ignored.

Besides, the issue is relevant to the current society, since the clergy by any means is considered a professional job. Thus, the clergy feels they need to protect their people as leaders of the flock and not necessary common followers. Permitting other people to take the praying role means that the role of the clergy is not impacted appropriately in the society. For that reason, the question of the role of the clergy should be taken seriously. In addition to that, there is the question of the supreme principles of conduct to which all else should be subordinated, and can scarcely fail to doubt the truth of this position when he is required by those principles to perform an action which is hitherto always regarded wrong.

Likewise, the issue should be considered essential to our society, when questions are relying on previous judgments to make current judgments are concerned. Greece v. Galway relied on Marsh v. Chambers (1983). Marsh v. Chambers was case based on the legitimacy of the government when it came to funding. By default, the U.S government is supposed to fund projects such as the chaplains since it controlled funds. However, this question differs with Greece, Galway question. In any case, the Greece v. Galway question was more of a religious question and not necessary an issue concerned with legitimacy concerns. There was a significant problem in attempting to conduct Greece v. Galway in accordance with Marsh v. Chambers ruling.

Equally, the case also questions the validity of religious issues to be deliberated in a judicial setting. The problem arising from this approach is what was senior, Judiciary or the Clergy. In relation, there were questions requesting whether the judiciary was mandated in making decisions on behalf of the clergy. Read it us, the Law of God vs. the Law of man. In either way, the two rules influence human decisions subsequently. While it is common knowledge that identity of clergy is bestowed on their perceived communication, members of the clergy and God, it is as well justified in a society where so many system exists, there need to be a supreme authority, that is the government. Thus, deliberating on the decision of who, where or how to pray is only subject to the religion and not the judiciary since the court has limited influence against religion.

What influence the current or future ruling on this issue could have on society

           Given that the ruling has serious ethical concerns, it is unavoidable that the case will have significant influence in current and future cases. However, this does not have compulsory meaning. Even though courts are obliged precedents such as the Greece v. Galway case, decision precedent should no longer be followed. If the court decides that a ruling is a precedent or just incorrect or attracted social changes have rendered the precedence inapplicable, the court can decide to rule contrary to the precedent.

The concept of stare decisis has assumed most legal proceedings in United States. In stare decisis, legal reasoning processes is used by the judges is deciding what the law applies to a given issue and then relating that law to a particular facts and circumstances of the issue (Seigler, 2003). In other words, when using legal reasoning, judges complement their decisions with those been made, hence the stare decisis. Concerning that, legal practitioners engage in legal reasoning based on specifications of the law, as well as the legal environment encouraging the case. For instance, a legal practitioner can be asked to provide answers to the case problems, which appear at every period, hence each issue describe the details of a particular dispute and legal question developed from it. This directs the reasoning of how the court will be expected to reasoning a question and why.

Now having the legal influence of the case to future ruling, it is necessary to attach the social control that case concerning the ruling. While it is common knowledge that freedom of American people is upheld at given levels, it as well respectable that boundaries based on either social-economic concern or social-political concern should be respected. Given the fundamental concern being addressed by the Greece v. Galway, future societies will be obliged to determine which between religion and judiciary should be adhered. It is however common knowledge that American democratic institutions are founded on ethics of respecting one’s choices. Nonetheless, questioning the role and obligations of the clergy is not ratified.

Conclusively, whatever the answer may be to the questions regarding whether a particular tradition of honoring the clergy exists, the self-understanding of the religious community affects some significant degree the shape of the clerical profession. In fact, it is in this part that the role of the clergy is defined, and mainly the aspects of the profession can hardly be called unimportant. Therefore, in summary, while setting and understanding the ethics of the judiciary when it comes to religious issues, future the generations should begin looking religion as an ecclesial self-understanding alive among the clergy that we seek to understand.


Greece vs. Galway [2014] 1 681 F. 3d 20 112

Seigler, T. (2003). Understanding Original Intent and Stare Decisis: Two Methods of

Interpreting the Establishment Clause. Educational Administration Quarterly, 208-237.

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